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Game Preview: Canadiens @ Blue Jackets

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

CANADIENS (39-16-5) @ BLUE JACKETS (26-29-4)

The Habs meet the Blue Jackets for the second time in less than a week on Thursday in Columbus.

Saturday at the Bell Centre, Max Pacioretty scored a pair of first period goals to lead the Canadiens to a 3-1 win over the Ohioan squad. Pacioretty also scored the game-winner the last time the Habs were in the Buckeye State, just over a month ago, on January 14.

This time, the Canadiens arrive in Columbus looking for a third win in a row against a Blue Jackets team currently on a three-game slide.

Most recently, Michel Therrien’s troops defeated the Blues 5-2 in St. Louis thanks to a pair of two-goal efforts from both Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher on Tuesday.

The Blue Jackets for their part are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss in New York on Sunday and a 4-2 regulation loss at home against Buffalo on Tuesday.

Habs newcomer Devante Smith-Pelly will make his Canadiens debut at Nationwide Arena on Thursday, just over 48 hours after being traded to Montreal from Anaheim in exchange for forward Jiri Sekac. Christian Thomas will in turn be a healthy scratch to make room for Smith-Pelly in Columbus, although Therrien did not confirm which line the right winger will be playing on.

Carey Price, who set a new team record on Tuesday with a ninth-consecutive road win, will get a fourth-straight start in goal.

Curtis McElhinney meanwhile will be back between the pipes for the Blue Jackets. Since replacing starting goaltender Sergei Brobovsky, currently out with an injury, McElhinney has compiled a 10-10-2 record with a 2.69 goals against average and 0.918 save percentage.

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