MONTREAL - Here are five things you need to know ahead of Saturday afternoon's matchup against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre.
1. The Canadiens got back on the winning track in Buffalo on Thursday night, posting a 3-1 victory over the Sabres. Ilya Kovalchuk, Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Tatar scored for Montreal, while goaltender Carey Price turned aside 20 of 21 shots between the pipes. It was a triumphant return for Gallagher, who missed the previous six games with headaches. He played his typical brand of hard-nosed hockey and registered his 16th goal of the season in the process. Youngster Nick Suzuki also earned his fair share of praise from head coach Claude Julien for his outstanding work in between Kovalchuk and Joel Armia. He picked up two assists versus Buffalo, and now boasts 30 points (9g, 21a) on the year.
2. Speaking of Price, he was named the recipient of the Molson Cup for the month of January on Friday. Price earned the honor for the third consecutive month. The 32-year-old Anahim Lake, BC native played 10 games last month, earning the team's five wins. He also registered a 2.09 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage during that span. Price added a shutout on January 13 against the Calgary Flames. Most importantly, the seven-time All-Star has won five of his last six starts.
3. The Bell Centre will be buzzing on Saturday in conjunction with the start of the annual Tim Hortons Family Weekend. When the doors open, 5,000 pennants will be distributed to children on site. There will also be a photobooth in section 114 featuring Canadiens alum Steve Begin, who will be posing for pictures with fans from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Following the game, fans seated in the La Petite Bretonne Family Section can take a selfie on the ice. Bracelets can be picked up from the welcome table located in section 326. In addition, several Canadiens Fan Club members will have the opportunity to enjoy some unique experiences on Saturday and Sunday alike.
4. The Panthers are coming off a lengthy All-Star and bye week break, so they should be extra fresh. Joel Quenneville's club hasn't played since January 21 when they rattled off their sixth straight victory, downing the Blackhawks 4-3 in Chicago. This is the second matchup of the season between the two teams. Florida won the previous game 6-5 on December 29 in the Sunshine State. Jonathan Huberdeau currently leads the Panthers with 65 points (18g, 47a), while captain Aleksander Barkov ranks second in scoring with 54 points (16g, 38a). Florida also averages a League-leading 3.67 goals for per game and ranks fifth on the power play (24.5%).
5. Puck drop is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. You can watch the game on TSN2 and RDS, and listen to all the action on TSN Radio 690 and 98,5 fm. To purchase tickets, click here. The Canadiens will close out Tim Hortons Family Weekend with another afternoon contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Super Bowl Sunday. To purchase tickets for that encounter, click here.