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Game Preview: Blues @ Canadiens

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

BLUES (12-5-1) @ CANADIENS (14-5-1)

After suffering their first loss in 13 days on Tuesday, the Canadiens will try to rebound on Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues at the Bell Centre.

The Habs hit a veritable wall earlier in the week against Pittsburgh after winning six straight games. Marc-Andre Fleury was perfect in goal, turning aside all 27 shots he faced to lead the Penguins to a 4-0 victory.

Despite the loss, head coach Michel Therrien made no changes to his lines at practice on Wednesday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. Mike Weaver, who was a late scratch on Tuesday night due to an upper-body injury, skated by himself on the secondary ice rink. It is uncertain whether or not he will suit up against the Blues. The Canadiens bench boss confirmed, however, that the Canadiens would not be making any call-ups at this point from Hamilton.

Carey Price should get the call in goal for the Canadiens. It would be his seventh career start against the Blues.

For their part, St. Louis will counter with goaltender Jake Allen. The Fredericton, NB native, who donned a Montreal Junior jersey during his time in the QMJHL, has registered five wins in six outings this season.

The Blues, who were blanked 2-0 by the Bruins on Tuesday night, are off to an excellent start to the year. They currently sit fourth in the Western Conference, two points back of the Conference-leading Anaheim Ducks.

St. Louis is led by a young line that boasts 287 career games of NHL experience between them. Vladimir Tarasenko (10G – 11A – 21 PTS), Jaden Schwartz (7G – 11A – 18 PTS) and rookie Jori Lehtera (7G -10A – 17 PTS) have scored more than half of their team’s goals, and are largely responsible for the group’s success on the power play.

The Blues boast the second-best man advantage in the league (25.4%), and the top power play on the road (30.4%).

If St. Louis is strong on offense, they’re equally talented on defense, particularly in goal. The Blues are the only team in the league that has conceded less than two goals a game, as their goals-against average sits at 1.89 on the year.

Last season, the Blues won both of the meetings between the two teams. The Canadiens boast an all-time record of 71-28-22-3 against St. Louis.

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