MONTREAL - The Canadiens will be renewing acquaintances with their rivals from the 2017 playoffs for the second time this season, as they are set to face the New York Rangers on Saturday at the Bell Centre.
In their first meeting, the Habs' third game of the season, the Rangers took the cake, winning 2-0 off goals from Brady Skjei and Mika Zibanejad.
Saturday's game marks the end of a three-game homestand for Montreal. Earlier in the week, the Canadiens handily beat the Florida Panthers by a score of 5-1 on Tuesday, before falling to the Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings 4-0 two days later.
Video: Condensed Game: Kings @ Canadiens
On practice on Friday, head coach Claude Julien featured mostly the same line combinations that he employed in both the Florida and Los Angeles games. Nikita Scherbak, who left Thursday's game with a lower-body injury, did not practice. Torrey Mitchell and Jacob De La Rose were used alternatively on a line with Alex Galchenyuk and Michael McCarron in his stead.
Julien confirmed on Friday that Carey Price would once again defend the Canadiens' net against New York. Price has a 15-6-0-1 record in 23 career appearances against the Rangers to go along with a 1.83 goals-against average, .939 save percentage and seven shutouts.
As for the visitors, head coach Alain Vigneault announced on Friday that Ondrej Pavelec would be his starter. Pavelec, 30, holds a 6-9-0-1 record, .908 save percentage, 2.74 goals-against average and two shutouts in 17 career games against Montreal. The Czech netminder was in goal for the Rangers on Thursday night and turned aside 27 of the 29 shots he faced in a 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes.
Three players lead New York in scoring with eight points each - Mika Zibanejad (6G, 2A), Mats Zuccarello (2G, 6A) and J.T. Miller (2G, 6A). Pavel Buchnevich and Kevin Shattenkirk aren't far behind with seven points apiece.
Saturday's game marks the second edition of FANatic Saturdays at the Bell Centre. The SiriusXM guest DJ of the night is DJ Advocate, while Stephane Richer will be available for a photo op from 5:15 p.m.-6:15 p.m. Click here for a full list of special initiatives taking place surrounding the game.
Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised on Sportsnet ONE, City and TVA Sports, and will be on the radio on TSN 690 and 98,5 fm.