Kraken at Canadiens, March 12, 2022: Five things you should know

This will be the first-ever game at the Bell Center for the expansion Kraken, who beat the Habs 5-1 earlier this season in Seattle.

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Here are five things you should know about Saturday’s game between the Canadiens (15-35-7) and the Seattle Kraken (17-37-6) at the Bell Center (7 pm, CBC, SNE, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).

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Fans back in building: This will be the first game with full capacity allowed at the Bell Center (21,105) since Dec. 9 when the Canadiens lost 2-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks with an official attendance of 20,447. Provincial COVID-19 restrictions forced the Canadiens to play their next four games at the Bell Center with no fans in attendance and only 500 fans were allowed for the next five games home games. Fifty-per-cent capacity (10,552) was allowed for the last two games at the Bell Centre, where the Canadiens have an 8-17-1 record this season.

First visit for Kraken: This will be the first-ever game in Montreal for the Kraken expansion. The Kraken beat the Canadiens 5-1 in their first meeting on Oct. 26 in Seattle. Jared McCann leads the Kraken in scoring with 22-12-34 totals, followed by Jordan Eberle (15-19-34) and Yanni Gourde (12-22-34). Nick Suzuki leads the Canadiens in scoring with 13-27-40 totals, followed by Artturi Lehkonen (13-15-28), Josh Anderson (15-9-24) and Cole Caufield (8-15-23). Lehkonen is on a five-game point streak during which he has 6-2-8 totals. Caufield is on a four-game point streak and has 7-8-15 totals in the 12 games since Martin St. Louis took over as head coach.

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Bottom feeders: These are the two worst teams in the NHL with the Kraken sitting in 31st place in the overall standings, three points ahead of the last-place Canadiens, who hold three games in hand. The Kraken have been struggling recently with a 1-7-2 record in their last 10 games, including a 4-3 overtime loss to the Senators Thursday night in Ottawa. The Kraken have a 7-20-3 record on the road. The Canadiens are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games.

Back-to-back: This is the first of back-to-back games for the Canadiens, who will face the Flyers Sunday in Philadelphia (7 pm, TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM). When asked after practice Friday in Brossard if he had decided on his goalies for the two games, St. Louis said: “No. I haven’t thought about that. I got to go think about that. We’ll get it sorted out before tomorrow.”

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Not the Golden Knights: The Kraken are having nowhere near the success the previous NHL expansion team did. During the Vegas Golden Knights’ first season in 2017-18, they had a 51-24-7 record and advanced to the Stanley Cup final before losing to the Washington Capitals. The Golden Knights have made the playoffs in each of their first four years in the league and have a 32-24-4 record this season, good for third place in the Pacific Division. The Golden Knights paid a US$500-million expansion fee to enter the NHL, while the cost rose to US$650 million for the Kraken.

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