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At the Rink: Canadiens at Panthers

by Alain Poupart /

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Montreal Canadiens will look to reclaim first place in the Atlantic Division when they face the Florida Panthers at BB&T?Center on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; SN, RDS, FS-F).

The Canadiens (47-22-10) will come in tied for first place in the division with the Tampa Bay Lightning with 104 points, but with a game in hand.

Montreal will be looking to avoid its first four-game losing streak of the season after losing 5-3 against Tampa Bay on Monday and dropping shootout decisions against the Washington Capitals (5-4)???and New Jersey Devils (3-2)???on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

The Canadiens are 1-2-3 in their past six games.

The lone victory during that stretch came March 28 when they beat the Panthers 3-2 in overtime on a power-play goal by Max Pacioretty.

The Panthers will be back in action one day after being eliminated from playoff contention with a 4-0 loss against the Lightning.

Florida (36-28-15) has alternated wins and losses for its past eight games, going 4-3-1 in the process.

The Panthers are in the middle of a season-ending five-game homestand that began with a 6-1 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.

"We’ve got three games ahead of us that we’re going to come out and play really hard for,"???defenseman Erik Gudbranson said. "We’re going to put a good product out on the ice. We’re going to work hard and try to get six points out of it."

The first four games between Montreal and Florida this season were each decided by one goal and all went beyond regulation except for Montreal’s 3-2 victory at BB&T???Center on March 17.

Here are the projected lineups:


Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - PA???Parenteau

Alex Galchenyuk - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher

Brandon Prust - Lars Eller - Dale Weise

Jacob De La Rose - Torrey Mitchell - Devante Smith-Pelly

Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban

Alexei Emelin - Jeff Petry

Nathan Beaulieu - Tom Gilbert

Carey Price

Dustin Tokarski

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


Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Jaromir Jagr

Brandon Pirri - Dave Bolland - Brad Boyes

Jussi Jokinen - Vincent Trocheck - Jimmy Hayes

Tomas Kopecky - Derek MacKenzie - Scottie Upshall

Brian Campbell - Aaron Ekblad

Willie Mitchell - Erik Gudbranson

Dmitry Kulikov - Alex Petrovic

Dan Ellis

Roberto Luongo

Scratched: Shawn Thornton, Steven Kampfer

Injured: Al Montoya (groin)

Status report: Price is expected to start in net for Montreal after Tokarski start against New Jersey on the second night of a back-to-back set. ... Markov also should return to the lineup after being given the night off against New Jersey. ... Ellis likely will get the start for the Panthers on the back end of a back-of-back set.

Who’s hot: Petry had a goal in each of the Canadiens’ past three games. ... Barkov and Gallagher each had three goals in the first four games between the teams this season.

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