KINGS (19-7-4) at CANADIENS (19-9-3)
TV: RDS, TSN, FS-W
Last 10: Los Angeles 6-1-3; Montreal 9-0-1.
Season series: The Montreal Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings have not met since Dec. 3, 2011, and this will be Los Angeles' first visit to Montreal since Nov. 24, 2010. The Canadiens will visit the Kings on March 3.
Big story: The game pits two of the NHL's stingiest defensive teams against one another with the Canadiens and Kings tied for second in the League at two goals against per game, and each is coming in hot. The Kings have not allowed more than two goals in 15 straight games and have lost in regulation once in that span (10-1-4). The Canadiens have allowed more than two goals once in 14 games and also have one regulation loss in that span (11-1-2).
Kings: The Kings were supposed to see some sort of dip in the goaltending department this season after trading backup Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the offseason. But it appears as though whomever coach Darryl Sutter puts in goal has success.
The new backup acquired for Bernier, Ben Scrivens, was thrust into the starter's role when Jonathan Quick went down with a groin injury, and he leads the NHL in save percentage. Then on Saturday night, with Scrivens slated to start and looking as though he would in the warmup, backup Martin Jones got the nod and made 16 saves for his first career shutout in a 3-0 win at home against the New York Islanders.
"He did a really good job in Anaheim [a 3-2 Kings win in a shootout that went nine rounds], and then [Saturday] night he was really solid," Sutter said of Jones on Sunday after practice. "He didn't have to be great, but he was solid coming in, especially in the first period."
Canadiens: Canadiens coach Michel Therrien has had a magic touch over his team's hot streak, with many of his decisions turning into gold.
The latest one he is hoping to see produce results is putting Alex Galchenyuk on the left wing with veterans Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta, a duo that is charged with facing the opposition's top lines every night. Galchenyuk was put on that line in the place of Daniel Briere over the second half of a game against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, and he wound up scoring the game winning goal in a 3-2 win.
The side effect of that move is that Briere will play with Lars Eller and Michael Bournival on the team's third line. Briere has played on each of Montreal's four lines this season and rarely plays more than two or three games on the same one as Therrien continues to seek a permanent home for him where he is effective.
"My responsibility as a coach is to put the best players on the ice and win hockey games," Therrien said Monday. "It's as simple as that."
Who's hot: For the Kings, captain Dustin Brown has a goal in each of his past two games and Jarret Stoll has a point in three straight. … For the Canadiens, Plekanec has five goals in eight games and Max Pacioretty has nine in his past 10.
Injury report: The Kings are without Quick (groin), defenseman Matt Greene (upper body) and center Trevor Lewis (lower body). … The Canadiens are missing left wing Rene Bourque (upper body) and defenseman Davis Drewiske (knee).
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