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Game Preview: Canadiens vs. Kings

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

KINGS (15-9-5) @ CANADIENS (18-10-2)

The Canadiens face a tough test on Friday as the team prepares to host the defending Stanley Cup champions at the Bell Centre.

Coming off an emotional 3-1 home win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday in a game dedicated to the late Jean Béliveau, the Habs now get set to face another western opponent for the sixth time in a row since the start of the month.

No changes are expected to the lineup following Friday’s morning practice in Brossard.

Bryan Allen, who has been suffering from flu symptoms, will be out of the lineup once again as a preventative measure. Lars Eller, meanwhile, will miss one to two weeks with an upper body injury and Mike Weaver remains sidelined with a concussion suffered on Saturday in Dallas.

Carey Price will get a sixth-straight start in goal on Friday against a Los Angeles team currently at the midway point of a five-game road trip which started with a 1-0 loss in Buffalo on Tuesday.

Winners of a 5-3 effort in Ottawa on Thursday in which goaltender Jonathan Quick made 35 saves and Matt Greene, Justin William, Anze Kopitar, Trevor Lewis and Tanner Pearson each picked up goals, the Kings now play a second game in as many nights in Montreal.

The reigning Stanley Cup champs enjoyed a strong start to the 2014-15 season, stringing together six consecutive wins in October before slowing down to fifth place in the Pacific Division with 33 points.

Led offensively by a pair of young stars, Tyle Toffoli is the Kings’ top point-getter with 10 goals and 11 assists so far this season while 22-year-old teammate Tanner Pearson for his part has registered 11 goals and three assists.

Defensively, Los Angeles is ranked third league-wide for goals allowed, giving up an average of just 2.07 per game, thanks in no small part to work of Quick and Martin Jones between the pipes.

With a 0.947 save percentage and 1.42 goals against average, Jones is among the NHL’s top backups, although Friday’s starter has not yet been revealed by L.A. coach Darryl Sutter.

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