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Game Preview: Canadiens @ Canucks

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

CANADIENS (8-2-0) @ CANUCKS (6-3-0)

The puck drops at 10:00 p.m. EST on RDS and Sportsnet 360.

The Canadiens wrap up their western Canadian road trip on Thursday with the club's annual visit to Vancouver. Coming away with at least one point in each of their last seven meetings opposite the Canucks, the Habs will try to keep that streak alive at Rogers Arena.

Arriving in Edmonton last Sunday, the Canadiens were surprised 3-0 by the Oilers on Monday night before pulling off a 2-1 shootout win in Calgary on Tuesday, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Carey Price, who made 37 saves against the Flames.

Price, a native of Anahim Lake, B.C., located 12 hours north of Vancouver, will get a second-consecutive start in goal for Montreal on Thursday while also playing his fifth career NHL game in his home province, registering four wins over that span.

Head coach Michel Therrien, meanwhile, has not yet announced whether changes will be made to the rest of the Habs’ lineup as the Canadiens get ready to take on a much different Canucks team from the one they faced last February.

While it may still be too early to tell if the on- and off-ice changes in Vancouver will pay off in the long run, the Canucks’ brass is likely pleased with the team’s newest acquisitions thus far.

Goaltender Ryan Miller, signed as a free agent over the summer, has compiled six wins in seven starts, center Nick Bonino, acquired from Anaheim in exchange for Ryan Kesler, is the fourth-highest point-getter on the team with seven, and winger Radim Vrbata, who also joined the club in July, has been a perfect fit on the Sedin line.

Currently one of the most dangerous lines in the league, Vrbata and the Sedin brothers have each amassed 11 points in just nine games since the start of the season.

Coming off a 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday in which Miller registered his 300th career win, expect the 34-year-old netminder to get the start again on Thursday against a Canadiens team which has not lost in regulation time opposite the Canucks since October 7, 2009.

In a sweep of the season series versus Vancouver a year ago, Max Pacioretty scored four goals in a pair of 4-1 and 5-2 wins, as the Habs hold a 78-27-13-2 all-time record over their B.C. rivals.

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