The Winnipeg Jets (26-25-5) head to the Eastern Conference to open up a four-game road trip, starting against a Montreal Canadiens (29-20-6) team that is coming off a heartbreaking loss just hours before.
The Canadiens are trying to bounce back from a four-game losing streak just a week ago, and have won two of their last three. Luck wasn’t on their side on Saturday night, however, as the Tampa Bay Lightning won in Montreal in overtime, 2-1. Winnipeg bounced back from a loss earlier this week to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 on Friday in Winnipeg, boosting their record to 7-3-0 in their last 10 games. The two teams last met on October 15, when the Canadiens blanked Winnipeg 3-0. Historically, things aren’t in the Jets’ favor, as Winnipeg is 1-7 against Montreal.
The Canadiens will start back-up Peter Budaj in the second half of their back-to-back. Budaj, who made 34 saves in a win over Boston on Thursday, has a .926% save percentage and 1.97 GAA in 14 games this season. Al Montoya will be in net for the Jets, making his first start in seven days. Montoya has a .925% save percentage and a 2.22 GAA in 16 appearances this season.
The Jets are without Evander Kane, as he will not travel with the team, and will not play until the Olympic Break with a hand infection. On the Injured Reserve for the Jets are Jim Slater (hernia), Grant Clistome (season, back), Paul Postma (blood clot), and Matt Halischuk (broken arm). Montreal will miss 2013 Calder finalist Alex Galchenyuk, who is on the IR with a broken hand. Joining him on the shelf is Brandon, Manitoba native Ryan White (upper-body), and Davis Drewiske (shoulder).
The Jets will only have four players participating in the Olympics this year, while the Canadiens will be sending eight players to the tournament, including P.K. Subban and Carey Price, who were both named to Team Canada. One pair and one trio of future teammates will battle it out on Sunday: Michael Frolik and Ondrej Pavelec of the Jets will be captained by Tomas Plekanec for the Czech Republic, while Max Pacioretty and Blake Wheeler will both don Team USA sweaters.
The Canadiens are 15-9-4 in their own arena this season, while the Jets are 12-14-1 on the road. Winnipeg holds a 12-9-1 record against teams from the Eastern Conference this year, while Montreal is 10-8-1 against Western teams.
You can watch the game on CBC, as well as listen live on TSN 1290 radio. The game gets underway at noon CT.