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Game preview: Canadiens @ Flames

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

CANADIENS (9-2-0) @ FLAMES (2-7-1)

TV: RDS and CITYM – 9:00 pm.

Michel Therrien’s group heads to Calgary for the final leg of a three-game road trip across Western Canada. The Habs will have to play on short rest after facing the Oilers on the road in Edmonton Thursday night.

On Thursday, the Habs lost an early three-goal lead in Edmonton, allowing four unanswered goals to Todd McLellan’s young squad, including three in the final 20. In the loss, Brendan Gallagher (5) scored on the power play, while Torrey Mitchell (5) and Alex Galchenyuk (2) also found the back of the net.

Paul Byron fared well in his Canadiens debut, playing 9:46 of ice time and pressuring the Oilers defense all night. However, Michel Therrien, who removed Alexander Semin from the lineup on Thursday, has not yet announced his roster in Calgary. In goal, with the Habs playing two games in two nights, Mike Condon will get the start against the Flames. The 25-year-old netminder would be looking for his third career win in his third career NHL start.

Despite advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1989 last year, the Flames have struggled to start to this season. Situated near the bottom of the Western Conference standings with a 2-7-1 record, the Flames are still in search of their first regulation victory of the season.

In their most recent game Wednesday night against the Senators, goaltender Jonas Hiller suffered a lower-body injury and was forced to leave with just eight minutes remaining in the third period.

With Hiller injured, backup Joni Ortio backstopped the Flames to a third period comeback before the Senators eventually sealed the victory in the shootout. The Turku, Finland native recently played his first game of the season on Monday night against the Islanders, where he turned aside 31 shots in a losing effort.

Wednesday night’s game against the Senators also featured defenseman T.J. Brodie’s return to the Flames’ lineup after the 25-year-old began the year on the sidelines rehabbing a broken hand suffered during the offseason.

Following Friday night’s game, the Canadiens will return home to friendly confines of the Bell Centre, where they remain undefeated through four home games, to face the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.

In 2014-2015, the Canadiens and Flames split the season series with each team winning one game on the road apiece.

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