CANADIENS (38-16-5) @ BLUES (38-17-4)
The Canadiens and Blues meet in St-Louis on Tuesday with a pair of practically identical records.
Tied with 38 wins apiece, a single regulation loss separates third-place Montreal and fourth-place St-Louis in the NHL’s league-wide standings.
The last time the two teams met this season, Max Pacioretty scored a pair of goals to lead the Canadiens to a 4-1 win at the Bell Centre. On Monday, Pacioretty was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week and now sits just one goal shy of 30, a mark he’s already hit twice in his career.
At his current pace, the American forward could become the first Hab to score 40 goals in a single season since Vincent Damphousse did the same in 1993-94.
Alex Galchenyuk will be back in the lineup after missing the previous two games with the flu. Sergei Gonchar meanwhile will miss his fifth game in row with an upper body injury despite traveling with the team to St-Louis.
Acquired in a trade which sent Jiri Sekac to Anaheim on Tuesday morning, Devante Smith-Pelly will join his new teammates in Columbus on Wednesday.
In goal, Carey Price will make a third consecutive start opposite St-Louis' Jake Allen, who has registered an impressive 17-5-2 record this season to go along with a 2.39 goals against average and 0.909 save percentage.
Undefeated since December 27, 2014, Allen has racked up six wins in as many starts over that span while also coming in relief of Brian Elliot in a pair of losing efforts.
Up front, Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko continues to be among the league’s best, ranked seventh overall with 59 points and fourth overall with 31 goals.
Collectively, the Blues have been scoring an average of 3.03 goals per game, fifth-most in the NHL, while the Habs continue to enjoy the league’s stingiest defense, allowing an average of just 2.19 goals per game.