CANADIENS (26-12-3) @ BLUE JACKETS (18-19-3)
The Canadiens take on the Blue Jackets for the first time this season on Wednesday, to open the first half of a short two-day road trip.
Winners of the season series between the two teams a year ago, Montreal registered a pair of wins over three games against Columbus in 2013-14.
Despite a disastrous start to the 2014-15 season with just six wins in their first 23 games, the Blue Jackets bounced back in spectacular fashion during the month of December, going 10-0-2 while pulling within 13 points of a playoff spot.
Like the Canadiens, the Jackets are coming off a pair of consecutive losses – both by the score of 5 to 2 – opposite the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Looking to get back in the win column, Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien shuffled all four of his lines at practice on Monday. Keeping his new trios intact again on Tuesday, it’s possible they’ll see ice time during Wednesday’s game.
On defense, Alexei Emelin may give up his spot on the blue line to Mike Weaver, who has not played since December 5 in Chicago, while Carey Price will make his 35th start of the season in goal.
Price will be up against an offense which hasn’t scored many 5-on-5 goals – just 60 so far this season, ranked 27th in the NHL – but is skilled at finding the back of the net with the man advantage, converting on 24.5% of its power play opportunities – second best league-wide.
Nick Foligno, who has registered just over one point per game so far this season (18G-22A-40P), has already racked up nine special teams goals while teammate Ryan Johansen (15G-24A-39P) has five to his name. Both players will represent the Blue Jackets when Columbus hosts the All-Star game in less than two weeks.
Sergei Brobovski, who recently signed a new four-year deal with the Jackets will also represent this year's hosts at the annual NHL event. He should be in goal against the Habs on Wednesday.