CANADIENS (43-19-7) @ LIGHTNING (42-21-7)
Less than a week after hosting the Lightning at the Bell Centre, the Habs get set to take on their closest contenders atop the Atlantic Division standings once again on Monday, this time in Tampa Bay.
Last Tuesday, Michel Therrien’s troops were bested 1-0 at the Bell Centre in overtime, falling for the third time in as many occasions to last year’s first-round playoff foes. The Habs will be hoping the fourth time is a charm however, arriving in Tampa with the third-best road record in the league (21-11-2).
The Lightning meanwhile boast the NHL’s second-best home record (26-7-1).
The Canadiens snapped a two-game losing streak on Saturday with a win on Long Island. Max Pacioretty notably scored his 34th goal of the season in the 3-1 effort, picking up his 60th point of the season in the process.
Injured on Saturday, Torrey Mitchell will be replaced by Brian Flynn on Monday, while Alexei Emelin will return to the lineup following a nearly three-week absence. Therrien has not confirmed whether Sergei Gonchar will also be back after being scratched in favor of Greg Pateryn against the Islanders.
Carey Price will face Ben Bishop in goal.
The Lightning are coming off a pair of losses since meeting the Habs in Montreal, dropping a shootout decision to the Bruins on Tuesday before falling 2-1 to the Jets on Saturday.
With just two points separating the two teams, first place in the Atlantic Division will once again be on the line on Monday, although the Habs still hold a game in hand.
A Montreal win would also place the Habs back in a tie atop the Eastern Conference standings.