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Tonight’s most dramatic game is… Canadiens-Panthers?!

Oct 24, 2011, 10:21 AM EDT

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Montreal Canadiens v Florida Panthers Getty Images

It’s a light Monday night for NHL action but tonight’s most intriguing match-up very well might be between the Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens.

Wait, what?

Yes, seriously and it’s all thanks to a soap opera-level of drama surrounding both teams. The Panthers made a stunning trade on Saturday afternoon that sent a young cornerstone player out of town and two potentially over-the-hill veterans in to “win now” as Panthers president Michael Yormark put it.

“Winning now” wouldn’t be the phrase that normally comes to mind with Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm at this point in their careers but hey, that’s their take.

Then you’ve got the Montreal Canadiens who are off to a miserable start this season and coach Jacques Martin is squarely at the center of all discussion and it’s exclusively negative. From the talk of him being on the hot seat to the open complaints about his choice to put Mathieu Darche on the power play over newly acquired Erik Cole, the Habs are in desperate need of a win at home tonight or else Jacques Martin might not make it through tomorrow with his job.

The Canadiens could use a standout game from Carey Price to help keep the wolves away from the door. While the Habs have three starting defensemen out with injuries, a highlight reel game from Price would give them both the confidence boost they’re looking for. It would also give the Habs their first win at home this year.

Panthers… Canadiens… Monday night! Can you smell the intrigue? It’s actually there this time.

Update (12:03 p.m.): Mikael Samuelsson’s Panthers re-debut will have to wait, he’s still in Vancouver getting worked out.

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