Dallas Stars at Canadiens: Five things you should know
Here are five things to watch when the Canadiens (25-32-12) face the Dallas Stars (38-25-6) Tuesday night at the Bell Centre (7:30 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN Radio 690):
Return of Radulov: Alexander Radulov will play his first game at the Bell Centre since leaving the Canadiens last summer as a free agent and signing a five-year, US$31.25-million contract with the Stars. The 31-year-old right-winger has definitely been worth the money so far, posting 25-35-60 totals in 69 games, already surpassing his output from last season when he had 18-36-54 totals in 76 games with the Canadiens. Radulov has 18 more points than Brendan Gallagher, who leads the Canadiens this season with 25-17-42 totals. Radulov picked up an assist in his first game against his former team when the Stars beat the Canadiens 3-1 on Nov. 21 in Dallas.
Happy to be home: The Canadiens wrapped up a six-game road trip with a 1-3-2 record following Monday night’s 5-2 loss to the Blue Jackets in Columbus and will be happy to return home. The Canadiens have the worst road record in the NHL (9-22-4) but have been much better at the Bell Centre, where they have a 16-10-8 record. This game will mark the 12th time this season the Canadiens have played on back-to-back nights and they have a 3-6-2 record in the second game of those series.
The goalies: Antti Niemi will start in goal for the Canadiens after Charlie Lindgren allowed five goals on 25 shots in Columbus. Goaltending was a problem for the Stars last season when they missed the playoffs with a 34-37-11 record and ranked 29th out of 30 teams in goals against, allowing an average of 3.17 goals per game. Niemi was part of the problem, posting a 12-12-4 record with the Stars along with a 3.30 goals-against average and a .892 save percentage. So the Stars acquired Ben Bishop from the Los Angeles Kings last May in exchange for a fourth-round pick at the 2017 NHL Draft. It turned out to be a very good move with the 6-foot-7 Bishop posting a 26-17-4 record, a 2.49 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. The Stars rank fourth in the NHL in goals against, allowing an average of 2.58 goals per game.
Another former Hab: Former Canadiens defenceman Greg Pateryn has been averaging 19:40 of ice time with the Stars while playing on the second pairing with Dan Hamhuis and has posted 1-9-10 totals along with a plus-3 rating. The Canadiens traded Pateryn and a fourth-round draft pick to the Stars on Feb. 27, 2017 in exchange for Jordie Benn, who is averaging 19:03 of ice time and has 4-9-13 totals along with a minus-4 rating after going minus-3 in Columbus.
Taylor or Tyler? Heading into the 2010 NHL Draft there was a debate over who should go No. 1 overall, Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin? The Edmonton Oilers took Hall with the No. 1 pick and the Boston Bruins took Seguin at No. 2. Hall is with the New Jersey Devils, posting 30-44-74 totals in 64 games this season, while Seguin has 36-29-65 totals in 69 games with the Stars. Either one would have been a good No. 1 pick and it’s interesting that both of them are no longer with the teams that drafted them.