PANTHERS (25-19-2) @ CANADIENS (37-16-4)
Bested on Wednesday night in Ottawa, the Canadiens will have a chance to get back on track on Thursday when they play host to Gerard Gallant and the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre.
This time around, Michel Therrien’s troops will be going up against a team that is battling for a postseason berth. With 62 points in 56 games, the Panthers currently sit fifth in the Atlantic Division, three points back of the Boston Bruins and the final playoff spot.
Therrien will be tweaking his defensive pairings following the injury to Alexei Emelin on Wednesday night when the blue-liner collided hard with the boards. He will not be in the lineup and his status will be evaluated next week. To fill his spot against the Panthers, the Canadiens recalled Jarred Tinordi from Hamilton following the game in Ottawa. The king-sized defenseman will play on Thursday and Therrien confirmed he will be paired with fellow youngster, Greg Pateryn.
Carey Price will be back between the pipes for Montreal and despite taking a hard shot off the foot against the Senators, P.K. Subban is also expected to play against Florida.
Price has given up just five goals in his last five outings. He now boasts a league-leading 1.93 goals-against average. He also leads all NHL netminders with a .935 save percentage.
Roberto Luongo should get the call in goal at the other end of the rink. He holds a 10-14-6 record against the Canadiens over the course of his career.
Luongo was in goal when the Panthers and the Canadiens last met on December 30 in South Florida. The visitors claimed a 2-1 shootout victory.
Thursday night’s game will mark Gallant’s first visit to the Bell Centre as the Panthers’ head coach since he left the Canadiens’ organization last summer.
The two teams will square off two more times during the 2014-15 regular season campaign.