Eight days after swapping Devante Smith-Pelly and Jiri Sekac, the Anaheim Ducks and Montreal Canadiens will get together and try to see who made out better. Both teams were busy in the 24 hours leading up to the deadline, and Montreal actually played on Monday night (4-0 loss to San Jose Sharks), whereas the Ducks had the night off and played yesterday (4-1 win against Arizona Coyotes).
These two teams met up one other time this season, an evenly played December game in Montreal in which the Ducks defeated the Habs 2-1 after Matt Beleskey broke the tie in the middle of the third period with a well-placed wrist shot after receiving a beautiful dish from Rickard Rakell.
James Wisniewski (foot), Sami Vatanen (lower body), Matt Beleskey (shoulder), Tim Jackman (lower body), and Korbinian Holser (concussion) are still injured. None are expected back against Montreal.
Despite each recording assists, neither Simon Despres nor Tomas Fleischmann really stuck out to me in their Ducks debuts yesterday, but both were at least serviceable against a relatively weak Arizona team. Despres made a few good plays and fewer bad plays, Despres ended up a team-worst minus 6 in on-ice shot attempt share at evens. I still like the trade and think he's a good player, but I do want to see more.
Jiri Sekac, on the other hand, played his best game as a Duck. He did not register a point, but he was all over the ice and recorded a team-best plus 14 on-ice shot attempt share at evens. Even Brian Hayward mentioned his shots on goal and his missed shots, citing both as indicators of good play. But that corsi stuff, just nonsense . . .
Frederik Andersen played his first game since February 8th, and even though he looked good doing it, John Gibson should get the start because it's the back end of a back to back.
For the Habs, only Alexei Emelin (shoulder) is hurt. He is expected back at some point this month, but not as soon as tonight's game.
Perhaps Montreal GM Marc Bergevin's most significant move was trading for Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry, a player many Ducks fans wanted to see in black and orange. Petry's first game for the Habs was a 4-0 defeat at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, a game in which he was one of only five Canadiens players with a favorable shot attempt differential, a team-high plus 3 in all situations, and plus 5 at evens.
Monday acquisitions Torrey Mitchel and Bryan Flynn could debut for Montreal.
What Can We Learn From This Game:
We will learn what it looks like when Sekac and Smith-Pelly go head-to-head. They did this once before, on December 18, in a game where Smith-Pelly had one assist and Sekac had no points. Since the trade, Sekac has two points, both assists, in four games and his shot attempt share at evens in each game has been 33.1, 73.1, 37.5, and 73.3. Smith-Pelly has zero points in three games in a Habs uniform, and his even strength shot attempt share has been 27.8, 50.0, and 42.9. Whether or not they actually match up against each other remains to be seen, but seeing as they are both bottom six guys, it is definitely a possibility.
Sekac and Smith-Pelly each score a goal, 'cause why not?