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Game Preview: Canadiens vs. Coyotes

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

Game Preview: Canadiens (32-13-3) vs. Coyotes (17-26-6)

The Canadiens will wrap up a busy back-to-back weekend looking for a sixth-straight win opposite the Arizona Coyotes on Super Bowl Sunday.

Carey Price is coming off a pair of exceptional outings after blanking both the Rangers and Capitals on Thursday and Saturday, respectively, to tie Patrick Roy for the fifth-most career shutouts registered by a Canadiens goaltender. In addition to another clean sheet for Price most recently, Max Pacioretty was once again the sole goalscorer for the Habs on Saturday, netting the game winner in OT while P.K. Subban picked up an assist on the overtime marker to bring his career points haul to 200 on the play.

On the other side of the ice, the Coyotes will be hoping to put their own Saturday afternoon performance behind them on Sunday, after dropping a 7-2 decision to Senators in the nation's capital despite firing 37 shots on goal. Defenseman Zbynek Michalek and forward Sam Gagner were the goalscorers for Arizona while Mike Smith was replaced between the pipes by former Quebec Remparts netminder Louis Domingue after giving up the game's fifth tally. The 22-year-old backup allowed two goals on 11 shots in his NHL debut.

The last time Arizona was in town, the Coyotes were bested 3-1 by the Habs as Pacioretty found the back of the net twice while also assisting Andrei Markov in a three-goal final frame.

The last time the two teams met in Phoenix, meanwhile, the Habs fell 5-2 in the desert.

After just missing the playoffs a season ago, the Coyotes have struggled this year, currently ranked second-last in the Western Conference. Nevertheless, defenseman Keith Yandle will be a player to watch, who despite just four goals this season, remains the team's top scorer with 32 points.

In goal, Mike Smith has had a difficult start to the season, posting eight wins and 20 losses with a 3.49 goals against average and a 0.888 save percentage. Following Saturday's disappointing effort in Ottawa, Domingue could get the start against the Habs, marking the Saint-Hyacinthe native's second NHL game.

Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien confirmed on Sunday that Dustin Tokarski will get the call opposite the Coyotes. Tokarski, who has often handled netminding duties during the second game of back-to-back sets this season, holds a 5-3-1 record and 0.917 save percentage following nine starts.

Therrien also confirmed a number of roster changes, as Gabriel Dumont and Mike Weaver will be in the lineup while Michael Bournival and Sergei Gonchar will not be in uniform.

The Habs will hit the ice on Super Bowl Sunday for a 24th time in team history, entering the contest with a 13-9-1 record all-time on the day.

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