Top 10 Montreal Canadiens Games to Watch in 2008-09

Matt EichelSenior Writer IAugust 21, 2008

10. October 13, 2008 - Montreal @ Philadelphia Flyers

After being knocked out of the second round last season by the rowdy, Alan Bass-led Flyers, the Canadiens' first rematch with Philly may take a different turn of events.  

The Flyers, even without Hab-killer RJ Umberger in the lineup, are pretty much the same team that powered their way to victory over the Canadiens in Round Two.  Yet this year, Montreal is more experienced, and the young guns have got a taste of what it is like to go deep in the playoffs.

9. December 13, 2008 - Montreal vs Washington Capitals

Alexander Ovechkin and the upstart Washington Capitals bring their game into the Bell Centre for one of four contests between the two teams.  We know how much fans enjoy watching Sidney Crosby come to town, but how will they invite Ovechkin into their own buildling?

8. March 10, 2009 - Montreal vs Edmonton Oilers

Six year ago these two teams played the NHL's first Winter Classic game at Commonwealth Stadium.  After the Canadiens take a rare trip to Rexall Place in Edmonton in February, the Oilers come to make an ever rarer visit to the Bell Centre. Fans will get their first glimpse of Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano in Montreal.

7. January 31, 2009 - Montreal vs LA Kings

A rematch of the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals, the Kings make their first appearance in the Bell Centre in years.  Normally, the Canadiens make their western road swing out to the Pacific Division teams—yet this season, the Kings will play the Canadiens in the Habs' own barn.  Should be fun to watch Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown.

6. November 26, 2008 - Montreal @ Detroit Red Wings

In an Original Six matchup, the Canadiens go up against the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.  

Montreal is touted to be one of the favourites in the Eastern Conference this season, but this game will determine if the Canadiens have what it takes to skate with the more defensively-minded Western conference power in Detroit.  Last time Montreal made an appearance in Detroit, they won a very rare game in the Joe Louis Arena.

5. November 7, 2008 - Montreal @ Columbus Blue Jackets

Montreal again makes a rare visit to the Central Division upstarts Columbus.  An exciting, up-and-coming team, the Jackets—led by Rick Nash—are fun to watch.  Last season, the Jackets came into Montreal and took a win in the Bell Centre in a very overpowering performance.  Look out for Hab-killer RJ Umberger and Nash to lead the attack.

4. December 11, 2008 - Montreal vs Tampa Bay Lightning

It's always fun when Vinny Lecavalier comes to town.  Last season, he turned in a great performance on his way to a 50-goal season.  Fans that were still clinging to dire hopes that Lecavalier would forsake Tampa and pack his bags for Montreal will get to see what they missed out on.

3. October 15, 2008 - Montreal vs Boston Bruins

The long winning streak may be over, but the Bruins are still sore about last season's first-round exit via the Canadiens.  Look for the Bruins to come out hitting and skating the Canadiens into the ground.  With ex-Hab 30-goal scorer Michael Ryder in the lineup, I'm not too sure how well the Bell Centre crowd will welcome back an old Hab.

2. April 4, 2009 - Montreal @ Toronto Maple Leafs

You've got to love this rivalry.  The re-tooling, rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs could play some kind of a spoiler role in the late stages of the season, whether it be the Canadiens grasping for a lower seed or trying to compete for top seed in the Northeast.

We all know the Leafs would love to play the spoiler this season—and what better team to do it against than their rivals from Montreal.

1. April 11, 2009 - Montreal vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Last season, the Penguins decided their own fate and sat Sidney Crosby to get the struggling Ottawa Senators in the first round instead of the Philadelphia Flyers.  Now, the outcome of the Eastern Conference—if it comes down to the wire yet again—could be decided in this final game of the season for both clubs.