MONTREAL - Here are five things you need to know ahead of Saturday night's matchup against the Dallas Stars at the Bell Centre.
1. The Canadiens closed out their two-game road trip with their second consecutive 4-1 defeat on Friday night, falling to the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Newcomer Jason Zucker was the difference-maker for the home side, scoring his first two goals in a Penguins uniform after recently being acquired from the Minnesota Wild. Captain Sidney Crosby also chipped in with three assists, while goaltender Tristan Jarry made 34 saves. Tomas Tatar scored the lone goal for Montreal on the power play. It was his team-leading 21st tally of the season. Goaltender Carey Price allowed three goals on 27 shots for the Canadiens.
2. During his pregame press conference, head coach Claude Julien confirmed that Nate Thompson would be unavailable against Dallas. He's battling the flu. In Thompson's absence, Dale Weise draws back into the lineup after missing the last four games as a healthy scratch. Jake Evans will take Thompson's spot at center, while Weise will play on the right side of that line that also features Artturi Lehkonen. Price will get the start in goal once again.
3. As part of FANatic Saturdays, the Bell Centre will be extra busy. From 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., you're invited to get your tailgating fix with music and games at the Cour Rio Tinto. There will also be a photobooth in section 114 adjacent to the Tricolore Sports boutique from 5:30 p.m. until puck drop. Habs alum Francis Bouillon will be on-site to pose for pictures with fans from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Fans sporting their Canadiens jerseys will also receive 15% off their purchases in Tricolore Sports. If you aren't sporting a jersey, though, you'll receive 15% off the purchase of a brand new official one. Also, the first 50 kids in sections 105 and 326 will receive a free Youppi! foam ball. But that's not all! There will be bottomless popcorn at the concessions as well. And, if you're an art fan, the exclusive Station 16 X CHC poster series features an original work by Ryan Labrosse.
4. The Stars are riding a three-game winning streak. Head coach Rick Bowness' group is coming off a 3-2 win over the Maple Leafs on Thursday night in Toronto. Tyler Seguin snapped a 17-game goal drought when he scored what proved to be the game-winning marker just 1:21 into the third period. Goaltender Ben Bishop made 27 saves. This marks the second and final regular-season meeting between Dallas and Montreal. The Stars downed the Canadiens 4-1 on November 2 at American Airlines Arena. Lehkonen was lone player to solve Bishop that night in the Lone Star State. Seguin currently leads the Stars in scoring with 42 points (12g, 30a). Captain Jamie Benn ranks second in that department with 31 points (18g, 13a), alongside former Canadiens forward Alexander Radulov (15g, 16a). Young gun Miro Heiskanen sits third with 29 points (7g, 22a). Speaking of Radulov, he was placed on injured reserve on Thursday. Joe Pavelski is a game-time decision against Montreal.
5. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. You can watch the game on City, Sportsnet East and TVA Sports, and listen to all the action on TSN Radio 690 and 98,5 fm. To purchase tickets, click here. The Canadiens will hit the road on Monday for a three-game trek with stops in Detroit (February 18), Washington (February 20), and Ottawa (February 22).