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Ducks at Canadiens preview

Niemi to start for Montreal; Anaheim seeks sixth win in eight games

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

DUCKS (25-17-10) at CANADIENS (20-25-6)

1 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, FS-W, NHL.TV

The Game

Goaltender Antti Niemi will start for the Montreal Canadiens against the Anaheim Ducks at Bell Centre on Saturday.

It will be Niemi's first start since he made 24 saves in a 3-2 win at the Washington Capitals on Jan. 19. It was his first victory for Montreal since he was claimed off waivers from the Florida Panthers on Nov. 14.

The Canadiens will try to end a three-game losing streak in the first game of their traditional back-to-back Super Bowl weekend matinees. Montreal is 4-10-2 in its past 16 games.

Goaltender Ryan Miller is expected to make his second straight start for the Ducks, who are 5-1-1 in their past seven games and 9-3-2 in their past 14.


Players to watch

Ducks forward Rickard Rakell has 18 points (10 goals, eight assists) in his past 17 games. 

Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty has six points (four goals, two assists) in his past six games and 11 points (eight goals, three assists) in his past 12.


They said it

"We didn't play poorly [Thursday] night [in a 2-1 overtime loss at the Ottawa Senators], our hockey club played well. We didn't display the desperation that was necessary, I think, for 60 minutes. Once we got down, the last 12 to 15 minutes we played a much different level of hockey, and that's what's going to be required for 60 minutes here." -- Ducks coach Randy Carlyle

"We're a bunch of guys with a lot of pride so we're still going to play extremely hard, and we're going to make a push for it. Our games have been getting better and I think we're going to see some results." -- Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner

Ducks projected lineup

Rickard Rakell -- Ryan Getzlaf -- Jakob Silfverberg

Andrew Cogliano -- Ryan Kesler -- J.T. Brown

Nick Ritchie -- Adam Henrique -- Ondrej Kase

Chris Wagner -- Antoine Vermette -- Corey Perry

Cam Fowler -- Kevin Bieksa

Hampus Lindholm -- Josh Manson

Francois Beauchemin -- Brandon Montour

Ryan Miller

Reto Berra

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, Derek Grant

Injured: John Gibson (lower body), Patrick Eaves (illness)

Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Paul Byron -- Charles Hudon

Alex Galchenyuk -- Jonathan Drouin -Nikita Scherbak

Artturi Lehkonen -- Tomas Plekanec -- Brendan Gallagher

Nicolas Deslauriers -- Byron Froese -- Logan Shaw

Karl Alzner -- Jeff Petry

Victor Mete -- David Schlemko

Joe Morrow -- Jordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Carey Price

Scratched: Daniel Carr,  Jacob de la Rose, Jakub Jerabek

Injured: Shea Weber (foot), Andrew Shaw (lower body), Phillip Danault (concussion-like symptoms), Ales Hemsky (upper body)

Status report

Danault skated for the second time in three days before practice Friday. He is progressing through the steps of the concussion protocol, but there is no timetable for his return, Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. … Weber has removed his walking boot and is working out off ice but has not skated, according to Julien.

Stat pack

Getzlaf has 24 points (five goals, 19 assists) in his past 21 games. … Drouin and Petry each has four points (one goal, three assists) in his past four games.

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