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Game Preview: Lightning @ Canadiens

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

LIGHTNING (46-23-7) @ CANADIENS (47-21-8)

Still looking for a first win against Tampa Bay in 2014-15, the Habs host the Lightning for a final time this season on Monday.

On Saturday, the Canadiens clinched a playoff spot by defeating Florida 3-2 at the Bell Centre. Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk ended 10- and 11-game goalless droughts, respectively, in the overtime effort, before Max Pacioretty scored the game-winner in the extra frame. Carey Price stopped 21 of 23 shots to earn a 41st win this season, tying him for first in the NHL with Pekka Rinne in the category.

Price can now tie the team record for most single-season wins (42) set by Jacques Plante in 1955-56 and matched by Ken Dryden in 1975-76.

The Lightning arrive in Montreal on a two-game losing streak after being blanked 4-0 by the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday – marking the first time Jon Cooper’s squad was shutout this season. The Lightning could also set a new team record with a franchise-high 47th win on Monday.

The Canadiens will be looking to avoid a second sweep in franchise history at the hands of the Lighting, having previously gone 0-3-0-1 against their Atlantic Division rivals in 2002-03.

Tampa could be without Cedric Paquette and Jason Garrison on Monday after the pair were injured on Saturday. Although Garrison is guaranteed to be inactive, Paquette participated in Monday's morning skate and will be a game-time decision. In the meantime however, the Lightning have called up Jonathan Marchessault and Luke Witkowski from the AHL's Syracuse Crunch.

The Habs meanwhile, should be without defenseman Tom Gilbert, who despite skating with his teammates for the first time on Sunday, will likely only return at the end of the week.

Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais, for their part, are both enjoying a strong end to the season. Desharnais has registered at least one point in each of his last three games while Pacioretty has racked up five over his last five. With 36 goals so far this season, Pacioretty has six games left to reach the 40 goals plateau.

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