Game Preview: Canadiens (36-36-6) vs. Panthers (43-25-9)
TV: TVAS, SN 7:00 p.m.
The Habs take on the Panthers at the BB&T Center just three days before they welcome Florida to the Bell Centre in a series of back-to-back games between the two Atlantic Division combatants.
On Thursday night in Tampa Bay, rookie netminder Mike Condon earned his first career NHL shutout with a 26-save performance against the Lightning. David Desharnais and Torrey Mitchell both scored their 10th markers of the season lifting the Habs to a convincing 3-0 victory. Coach Michel Therrien has confirmed that Condon will get a chance to extend his shutout streak on Saturday night in Sunrise.
On the other side of the ice, the Panthers are fresh off a 3-2 take down of the New Jersey Devils on home ice on Thursday night. Jonathan Huberdeau found the back of the net twice, while Al Montoya kicked aside 23 of the 25 shots he faced to earn his 11th victory of the season.
As Montoya got the nod against New Jersey, expect Montreal, Quebec native Roberto Luongo to return to the crease to face the Canadiens. Luongo holds a 12-14-4 record in 34 career starts against his hometown team.
In the injury department, Brendan Gallagher slotted in on a line completed by Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty at Friday morning’s practice. Following the team skate, the Habs tenacious forward confirmed he will be back in the lineup to face the Panthers on Saturday night.
Furthermore emergency recall Brett Lernout will take Nathan Beaulieu’s spot in the lineup as the Habs blue-liner suffered a season-ending broken thumb on Thursday night. Meanwhile, Daniel Carr makes his return to the lineup jumping onto Michael McCarron’s left-wing opposite Phillip Danault. As a result, Stefan Matteau, Mike Brown and Jacob de la Rose (injured) will not suit up
The Panthers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the season series, but the Habs have two remaining games left to even the score.