CANUCKS (18-8-2) @ CANADIENS (17-10-2)
Back home for the first time in over a week, the Canadiens will honor Jean Béliveau with a pre-game ceremony at the Bell Centre before taking on the visiting Vancouver Canucks.
Looking for a spark on offense, head coach Michel Therrien has shuffled his lines ahead of Tuesday’s tilt.
Monday at practice, Alex Galchenyuk was notably centering a top line flanked by Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher, Sven Andrighetto – who scored his first NHL goal on Saturday in Dallas – was paired with Tomas Plekanec and Jiri Sekac, the team’s three Quebec natives in P.-A. Parenteau, Michael Bournival and David Desharnais were reunited on the third line, while Brandon Prust, Manny Malhotra and Dale Weise rounded out the fourth line.
Sidelined with an upper body injury, Therrien has confirmed that Lars Eller will miss Tuesday’s game, joining teammates Mike Weaver and Bryan Allen in that capacity.
Called up from Hamilton on Monday, rearguard Nathan Beaulieu will be back in the lineup for the first time since November 18.
Carey Price meanwhile makes his 23rd start of the season in goal opposite a Canucks team looking to turn their fortunes around on what has been a tough Eastern Canadian road trip.
Willie Desjardins’ squad is coming off a disappointing 4-3 overtime loss in Ottawa on Sunday, after giving up an early 3-0 lead to the Sens.
Saturday at the Air Canada Centre, the Canucks also fell to the Maple Leafs, despite firing 46 shots at Toronto netminder Jonathan Bernier.
Despite the back-to-back losses however, Vancouver is nevertheless enjoying a strong start to the season, currently ranked sixth overall and second in the NHL’s Pacific Division.
Offensively, all three members of the Canucks’ first line – Henrik Sedin (6G-20A-26PTS), Daniel Sedin (7G-19A-26PTS) and Radim Vrbata (12G-11A-23PTS) – have been averaging practically one point per game since the start of the season.
Ryan Miller will be back in goal for Vancouver after ending his night early in Toronto, giving up four goals on just 14 shots. The 34-year-old goaltender’s 16 wins this season are good for second-best in the NHL.
In their only other meeting this year, the Canadiens fell 3-2 in overtime to the Canucks, on October 30 at Rogers Arena.
A fitting tribute
Béliveau's clutch scoring evident in NHL record book
Béliveau's grace, dignity endured after playing days
Searching for a spark