The Montreal Canadiens own one of the final wild-card positions. They are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins in points but are still the second wild card.
This means that if a team were to overtake any wild card team, the Canadiens would be the first to drop out of playoff contention. Tonight, the Canadiens look to improve their record as they battle it out against the San Jose Sharks.
It will be tough for Montreal to make the playoffs as one of the top three seeds of the Atlantic Division. Boston and Toronto are too far ahead for the Canadiens to catch up. However, they have a decent shot at making the playoffs through the wild card.
Columbus are right on Montreal’s tail. The Blue Jackets are two points back of the Canadiens, but also have a game-in-hand. The Blue Jackets play tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s an interesting situation for the Canadiens because they need both teams to lose. Really, Montreal can only focus on themselves.
Over in the Western Conference, the San Jose Sharks are sitting pretty. The Sharks have 86 points to their name and are three back of the Flames for top spot in the Pacific. They also have a game-in-hand on the Flames. Calgary faces Arizona tonight, a team also looking at making their playoff push.
Montreal have been slightly above average this season. They are ranked 13th in goals for with 204, while 11th in goals against with 194. San Jose owns one of the elite offenses in the league. The Sharks are ranked 3rd in the NHL with 238 goals for. Defensively, they could improve but it isn’t necessarily bad. San Jose have allowed 206 goals, which is 17th in the NHL.
Goalies are not confirmed for tonight. It is expected that Carey Price and Martin Jones will get the start for their respective clubs. Price owns a record of 28-19-5, with a 2.51 GAA and .917 SV%. He also has 3 shutouts on the season.
Martin Jones has a solid 31-15-5 record, with a 2.93 GAA and .897 SV%.
The 23-year-olds of Montreal are really shining. Max Domi has 59 points on the season and leads the team. Meanwhile. Jonathan Drouin is second in scoring with 50 points. Brent Burns is the top scorer for San Jose, with 72 points this season.