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At the Rink: Canadiens at Devils

by Mike G. Morreale / NHL.com

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Montreal Canadiens continue their pursuit of the Atlantic Division title against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; SN360, RDS, MSG+).

With just four games remaining in the regular season, the Canadiens lead the Atlantic with 103 points. The Tampa Bay Lightning, who have played one more game than the Canadiens, have 102 points.

The Devils role in all this, of course, is playing spoiler. The Devils, who have five games remaining, will miss qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs a third straight season.

"We want to keep pushing right to the end," Devils forward Adam Henrique said. "Every game is important to us to put wins on the board. It's been tough recently and we've played some games that haven't gone our way, but we'll push to the end. The last five games are important."

The Canadiens did not have a morning skate Friday after a 5-4 shootout loss against the Washington Capitals at Bell Centre in Montreal on Thursday.

Montreal defenseman Tom Gilbert returned to the lineup against the Capitals. He skated with Nathan Beaulieu, scored a goal and led the team with four blocked shots in 21:28 of ice time. Gilbert had missed the previous four games after sustaining a broken jaw on March 21. He wore a clear plastic chin protector attached to his helmet.

Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban had his first multipoint game since Feb. 26, a span of 17 games, with a goal and three points. Montreal allowed three power-play goals in the loss.

Devils center Stephen Gionta missed a third straight day on the ice since sustaining a lower back injury late in regulation of a 3-2 overtime loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. General manager and interim coach Lou Lamoriello said Gionta is day-to-day. Forward Reid Boucher, who has no points in seven games this season, will replace Gionta in the lineup.

Here are the projected lineups:

CANADIENS

Max PaciorettyDavid DesharnaisPA Parenteau

Alex GalchenyukTomas PlekanecBrendan Gallagher

Brandon PrustLars EllerDale Weise

Jacob De La RoseTorrey MitchellDevante Smith-Pelly

Andrei MarkovP.K. Subban

Alexei EmelinJeff Petry

Nathan BeaulieuTom Gilbert

Dustin Tokarski

Carey Price

Scratched: Greg Pateryn, Sergei Gonchar, Mike Weaver, Brian Flynn, Manny Malhotra

Injured: None

DEVILS

Reid Boucher - Scott Gomez - Steve Bernier

Stefan Matteau - Travis Zajac - Mike Cammalleri

Adam Henrique - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus

Tuomo Ruutu - Jacob Josefson - Jordin Tootoo

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

Mark Fraser - Damon Severson

Jon Merrill - Eric Gelinas

Keith Kinkaid

Cory Schneider

Scratched: Martin Havlat, Michael Ryder, Peter Harrold

Injured: Bryce Salvador (back), Ryane Clowe (concussion), Stephen Gionta (lower body)

Status report: Boucher returns to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past two games. … Kinkaid is 0-2-0 with a 4.57 goals-against average and .870 save percentage in two starts this season against the Canadiens. Schneider will start against the New York Rangers on Saturday. … The Canadiens starting goalie will be confirmed during pregame warm-ups.

Who's hot: Pacioretty has three goals and seven points in the past seven games. … Cammalleri scored twice in a 3-2 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday and now has 27 goals, the third-highest total of his NHL career. He scored 34 in 2006-07 and 39 in 2008-09.

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