Montreal has had a heck of a time finding the back of the net recently. They've been shut out in three consecutive matches, most recently 2-0 to the Washington Capitals. They're tied with the Rangers for 6th in the Eastern Conference, but just two points ahead of the 8th place Buffalo Sabres. If any team can empathize with how difficult it can be to snap out of an extended losing streak it's the Thrashers. While never hitting the shutout point that the Habs're at now, the Thrashers' entire January and February is an example of how not to break out of an extended slump. Thinking and worrying about losing begets more losing it seems, so the Habs have to shut out their recent troubles, put them in the past, and approach each game new.
The Thrashers lead the series two wins to one this season, and are in the midst of a 6-3-1 streak in their last ten that would have come in handy a month or two ago. It's more than likely too little too late for the Thrashers, who are in eleventh place and nine points out of the last playoff spot. Atlanta's amazing inability to maintain any sort of lead or momentum in a hockey game might be an open invite for the Habs to score. The Thrashers blew two two-goal leads on Sunday to the last-place Ottawa Senators, who forced an overtime that the game never should have gone to.
Ondrej Pavelec will be facing off against Carey Price tonight. Pavs has fared well against Montreal this year, going 2-0-0 with a 1.46 GAA and an excellent .960 save percentage. Recently he's faltered in goal, which prompted Craig Ramsay to start Mason in three games in a row.
Tonight will be Ben Maxwell's first against his former team. Maxwell had his first NHL goal and assist on Sunday afternoon against the Senators, and would love to add to that tonight. Anthony Stewart will be out thanks to a travel documentation issue.
Tonight's start is slightly later, at 7:30.