MONTREAL - Here are five things you need to know ahead of Saturday night's game against the Rangers.
1. Things haven't exactly been going the Canadiens' way of late. Winless in their last three games, Claude Julien's troops have scored just six goals during that span after failing to capitalize on scoring chances aplenty versus New Jersey, Columbus and Ottawa. In their most recent outing against the Senators on Wednesday night, the Habs fell 2-1 in overtime when Brady Tkachuk beat Carey Price only 38 seconds into the extra frame at the Bell Centre. Nick Suzuki scored the lone goal for the home side. It was his sixth goal of the season, and his third marker in the last four games. With an assist on Suzuki's tally, Phillip Danault extended his point streak to five games. He has one goal and seven points during that stretch. For his part, Price made 22 stops in a losing effort. The seven-time All-Star started for the second time in as many days after battling the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night in Ohio.
2. In an effort to jumpstart the offense, Julien is making a few key switches to his lineup. First and foremost, Max Domi will return to center against the Blueshirts. He will play on a line with Artturi Lehkonen on his left side and Suzuki on his right side. The veteran bench boss believes Domi will better utilize his skating ability and speed up the middle. Charles Hudon, meanwhile, will be featured on the left side of a line that also features Jesperi Kotkaniemi at center and Joel Armia on right-wing. Lastly, Jordan Weal will form a trio with Nick Cousins and Nate Thompson. On defense, Mike Reilly returns to active duty after watching the last six games from the press box. Brett Kulak will be a healthy scratch. Julien is eager to see Reilly contribute to the Canadiens' cause on offense at full-strength and on the power play, too. Reilly will be paired with Cale Fleury.
3. In conjunction with the NHL's Hockey Fights Cancer program, the Canadiens will dedicate their game against the Rangers to the children of Leucan, an association focused on supporting cancer-stricken children and their families. Over 50 young Leucan members, along with their parents, will attend the contest. Ten of these children will watch the pre-game warmup from the players' bench, while a dozen other kids will stand alongside the players of both teams on the blue line during the national anthems. The starting lineup will be announced by Josh, an 18-year-old fan who was diagnosed last June with Burkitt lymphoma, the same type of cancer Saku Koivu suffered from. All children invited by Leucan for this very special evening will also enjoy a postgame meet and greet with a few Canadiens players along with Youppi!
4. The Rangers enter the constest sitting 14th in the Eastern Conference with 20 points, seven points back of the Canadiens. David Quinn's contingent dropped a 4-1 decision to the Senators in Ottawa on Friday night. Rangers sniper Artemi Panarin was held off the scoresheet, which snapped his 12-game point streak that included seven goals and 19 points. Panarin leads New York with 11 goals and 25 points on the season. Centerman Ryan Strome ranks second in scoring with 19 points (6g, 13a), while left-winger Pavel Buchnevich sits third with 17 points (3g, 14a). This is the first of three regular-season matchups between the two clubs this year.
5. Puck drop on Saturday night is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. You can watch the game on Rogers Sportsnet, CityTV, NHL Network and TVA Sports, and listen to all the action on TSN Radio 690 and 98,5 fm. To purchase tickets, click here.