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Game Preview: Coyotes (2-15-3) @ Canadiens (8-9-2)

The Canadiens welcome the Coyotes to the Bell Centre for the first and only time this season on Thursday

by Staff Writer @CanadiensMTL /

MONTREAL - The Habs will have the perfect opportunity to improve their record to .500 on Thursday when they welcome the last-place-overall Arizona Coyotes to the Bell Centre.

Montreal has already earned five of a possible eight points on their current six-game homestand so far. In their last outing on Tuesday, the Canadiens managed to collect a point in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Paul Byron was the lone goal-scorer for the hosts, who bombarded Sergei Bobrovsky with 27 shots on the night.

Video: MTL Recap: Habs rally against Jackets, fall 2-1 in OT

Claude Julien confirmed after practice on Wednesday that Charlie Lindgren would get a sixth straight start in net for the Habs after he turned aside 20 of the 22 shots he faced on Tuesday. His backup will be Antti Niemi, who was claimed off waivers from the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Charlie Lindgren obtiendra le d��part face aux Coyotes jeudi. / Charlie Lindgren will get the start against the Coyotes on Thursday. #GoHabsGo

After missing the game against Columbus with the flu, Torrey Mitchell did not join his teammates at practice on Wednesday. In his absence, the Canadiens called up forward Nicolas Deslauriers from the AHL's Laval Rocket.

Max Pacioretty, who took a therapy day on Wednesday, should be in uniform to face the Coyotes. Artturi Lehkonen, on the other hand, is out with a lower-body injury and a timeline for his return is not yet known.

The Coyotes are still looking for their first regulation win this season and will also be attempting to put an end to their current five-game losing streak. In their last contest on Tuesday in Winnipeg, they lost 4-1 to the Jets.

The Canadiens will have to keep a close eye on Clayton Keller when Arizona steps onto the ice. The Coyotes' leading scorer in 2017-18, the 19-year-old's 17 points (11G, 6A) are tops among NHL rookies thus far.

The Habs won both games they played against the Coyotes last season. Arizona will be gunning for their first win at the Bell Centre since November 19, 2015.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on TV on TSN2 and RDS, and on the radio on TSN 690 and 98,5 fm.

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