CANADIENS (23-17-3) vs Blackhawks (28-13-4)
TV: RDS, SNE, NBCSN 7:30 p.m.
After four days’ rest, the refreshed Canadiens are set to battle the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
In their most recent contest on Saturday night, the Canadiens suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Defenseman P.K. Subban would score the lone goal for the Habs in the loss, while Andrei Markov and Tomas Plekanec drew assists.
Despite the loss, goaltender Mike Condon made some highlight reel saves to keep the score tied until late in the second period. The rookie netminder would end the night with a .935 save percentage after turning aside 29 of the 31 shots he faced.
For their part, the Blackhawks managed to extend their season high win-streak to eight games with a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Chicago has goaltender Corey Crawford to thank, as the Blackhawks came away with the victory despite being heavily outshot 43-23.
Prior to the start of Wednesday’s practice, goaltender Carey Price skated – without equipment - alongside head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend. Price continues to rehab a lower-body injury that will keep him out until at least the NHL All-Star break.
Jeff Petry – who sat out Saturday night’s contest against the Penguins due to a lower-body injury – was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice and is expected to return to the lineup against Chicago.
Coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Mike Condon – who is set to play the Blackhawks for the first time in his career - will get his third consecutive start in goal. The Holliston native will be looking to return to the win column after having his recent three-game win streak snapped by the Penguins on Saturday night.
Expected to earn the start Thursday night, Montreal native Corey Crawford kicked aside 41 shots against the Predators to earn his sixth straight win. With the victory, Crawford’s record this season surges to an impressive 24-10-2 including a 2.20 goals against average and a save percentage of .927
Thursday night features the first matchup between the two Original Six clubs this season, with the Blackhawks having swept the season series in 2014-15.