The Montreal Canadiens have struggled over the past week and their return to action, marked by four games in a row abroad, presents them with significant obstacles to overcome.
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Head coach Martin St-Louis' squad began a seven-game away streak on Dec. 19 and so far they've offered unconvincing performances. Dominated by the Arizona Coyotes from the start, they needed the brilliance of Samuel Montembeault to win 3-2 in overtime. The Habs didn't have the same luck against the Colorado Avalanche two days later, who beat them 2-1 in overtime. On Friday, indiscipline sank the visitors in a 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars.
This time, the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge will make its traditional Florida holiday tour with stops in Tampa on Wednesday and Sunrise the next day. In recent history, Montreal successes have been rare there. Against the “Bolts”, his fallers from the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, the Canadian is struggling to win, as the duel on December 17 at the Bell Center showed, the Lightning leaving the scene with a 5-1 win However, the odds are better against the Panthers, who have been struggling this season. Head coach Paul Maurice's men are sixth in the Atlantic Division with a record under .500.
A not obvious sequel
The rest of the journey is made up of stops in Washington on Saturday afternoon and Nashville on January 3. In front of the Capitals, the Canadian will have to master Alexander Ovechkin, now the second all-time scorer in the National League. His teammates have rebounded as they have taken the honors from their last four encounters. The sturdy Tom Wilson is close to a return to the game, by the way.
In Tennessee, the Predators are sixth in Central despite a 14-13-5 record. Matt Duchene, Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg all have at least 25 points to their name.
The return of Sainte-Flanelle to the Bell Center is scheduled for January 5 with a game against the New York Rangers.
The Canadian will train Tuesday at 3 p.m. at the Lightning's home, the Amalie Arena.