Montreal Canadiens vs. Colorado Avalanche: 3 things to watch

The Colorado Avalanche are hoping to capitalize on the Habs' monumental slide tonight in Denver, as they try to hold on to the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference.

With David Desharnais out, Lars Eller moves to centre with Max Pacorietty on his wing

The Colorado Avalanche are hoping to capitalize on the Habs' monumental slide tonight in Denver, as they try to hold on to the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference.

With centre David Desharnais out, coach Michel Therrien has been forced to shift around the lines. And Ben Scrivens will be in nets.

Desharnais out, Eller in

You would be hard pressed to find a Habs player who has had more linemates than Lars Eller. The sometime centreman has played with nine different guys just this season and tonight Max Pacioretty joins that list.

David Desharnais suffered a lower body injury blocking a shot last game, opening the door for Eller to centre his captain.

The two cannot remember playing together but the Habs assure us it actually did occur briefly during the 2011-2012 season with Erik Cole. Eller said the message for him and Andrighetto is clear: get Pacioretty the puck. 

Back to Scrivens

One wonders how much damage the Habs are doing to their backup goalies by refusing to play anything that resembles NHL caliber defence in front of them.

Condon is only 25 years old and was certainly not expecting to shoulder the load heaved on him following the injury to Carey Price. Left in net to be shelled 6-2 after a 6-4 loss when coming in to relieve Ben Scrivens is not great for the confidence. 

Tonight, the baton is passed back to Scrivens to try and help this team get the much needed two points. The unconventional goaltender has experience on his side to weather the bad goals that are often due, at least in part, to some horrific D but even if the brain knows that, the message doesn't always make it to the heart.  

Value Village

If you are accepting the Habs fate as a non-playoff team, you are already looking to next season. So if you want to take a peek at the players that could be on their way out, Tom Gilbert, Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann all have contracts that expire at the end of the season.

TSN's Darren Dreger says that even though he is an impending unrestricted free agent there are some teams that would listen to a deal involving Weise. Weise and the Habs management have not reportedly not discussed a new contract to keep him in Montreal and a team making a serious playoff run may find him to be a smart addition.

Not so long ago, Fleischmann was making 4.5 million and looked like a bargain when first coming on board with the Habs. Fresh scenery could help him find that scoring touch. Playoff hockey eats defencemen for breakfast so any team making a run would look at a player like Tom Gilbert as a way to beef up the blue line.

Game time tonight is 8:00 p.m. ET. The Habs return home to play the Flyers on Friday.


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