Canadiens aim to keep up strong play at home vs. Blue Jackets

Field Level Media

During a strong seven-game run, the Montreal Canadiens have been playing their best hockey of the season, and they will look to keep it up on Tuesday at home.

Montreal will wrap up a brief two-game homestand against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first meeting between the Eastern Conference foes.

When the Canadiens take to the ice for warmups, they will probably be as upbeat as their raucous fans clad in red, white and blue.

Montreal is 5-1-1 since a 5-2 shellacking of nemesis Toronto on Oct. 26, which was also in Quebec.

Since that time, the Canadiens have reeled off road wins in Arizona and Vegas, lost in Dallas and Philadelphia (3-2 in overtime) and beat back Boston 5-4 last Tuesday at home.

The only black mark was the 4-1 loss to the Stars in a match that concluded a three-game road trip out west.

Last time out at home against Los Angeles, Montreal seemed to put the Kings away early in an explosive three-goal first period. A pair of power-play tallies by captain Shea Weber were sandwiched around Nate Thompson's first goal of the season.

However, Montreal had to hold on for a 3-2 victory, and Weber's play was the difference.

His power-play goals -- the 100th and 101st of his 15-year career -- made Weber, 34, the only active defenseman to reach the century plateau. He is also one of only 12 blueliners ever to reach the milestone since the NHL started tracking the statistic in 1933.

Teammate Jonathan Drouin assisted on each of Weber's goal and said he was proud to see Weber reach the mark.

"I'm sure he's very proud about it, but Shea puts in the work and he's put in the work his whole career and he deserves those accolades," Drouin said. "He's a team guy, but it's always fun to see somebody that cares about the team accomplish that stuff."

Columbus currently finds itself in a bit of a downward spiral, which was made even worse with its 4-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver on Saturday night. The Blue Jackets also will be without veteran forward Nick Foligno, who received a three-game suspension Monday for elbowing Avalanche forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

The slumping Metropolitan Division team fell to 1-5-1 in its last seven games, and Columbus has been outscored 26-14 since giving up seven goals for the second time in the season on Oct. 26 in Philadelphia.

In that defeat, the Blue Jackets led 4-2 with 11 minutes to play, but the Flyers potted five goals and left home ice with a 7-4 win.

The team has won just once since that night -- a 3-2 decision in Arizona -- and completes its three-game road trip in Montreal before returning home Friday to play the St. Louis Blues.

Zach Werenski scored for the 42nd time in his NHL career -- all with Columbus -- to slide him past Rostislav Klesla for the most by a defenseman in franchise history in the loss in Colorado.

Coach John Tortorella said backup netminder Elvis Merzlikins will start in place of Joonas Korpisalo, who slammed his goalie stick in frustration on two of Colorado's goals.

On Sunday the team announced it had recalled Merzlikins and forward Eric Robinson from AHL affiliate Cleveland. They also placed defenseman Markus Nutivaara on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 5 and sent down goalie Matiss Kivlenieks.

--Field Level Media

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