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At the Rink: Canadiens at Stars

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- The Montreal Canadiens will have Alex Galchenyuk at left wing on the top line when they play the Dallas Stars on Saturday at American Airlines Center (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports, CITY, FS-SW+).

Galchenyuk will be on a line with center Tomas Plekanec and right wing Max Pacioretty.

"We like what we saw last game when we put those three guys together," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "They got chances. The result was not always there but they got some chances."

The Canadiens are 1-6-0 and have scored 11 goals in their past seven games, sparking more than just a change on the top line.

The second line will consist of David Desharnais at center between Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise. On the third line Lars Eller will shift back center, playing between left wing Michael McCarron, who will make his NHL debut, and right wing Paul Byron.

"[Eller] is a guy that really started to feel comfortable as a winger but he always played center," Therrien said. "After power plays we use him at center depending on who was on the ice. But I don't see any issue out there [with the switch]."

McCarron, the 25th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, was recalled from St. John's of the American Hockey League on Friday. He leads St. John's with 13 goals and is second with 24 points in 28 games.

In addition to 5-on-5 play, McCarron also will see time on the power play.

"I play hard. I go to the net. I finish my checks and I just want to help this team win some hockey games," McCarron said. "This is my first NHL game. Hopefully the nerves will be out pretty early."

Therrien is keeping his fourth line of Daniel Carr, Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn intact from a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Bell Centre on Thursday. His defensive pairs also will remain identical from Thursday.

Goalie Mike Condon was first off the ice at the morning skate and likely will make his 19th start this season.

Montreal (20-10-3) is beginning an eight-game road trip and won't play at home again until Jan. 6 against the New Jersey Devils.

Dallas (23-7-2), which has lost two of its past three games, did not skate Saturday morning. Coach Lindy Ruff said he knows what to expect from the Canadiens.

"[They have] good speed," he said. "The group of forwards, they generate a lot of speed on transition. I think you got two teams that skate really well. They outshot L.A. by a pretty big margin. They got some good, big shooters on the back end. And overall I thought they defended pretty well (against the Kings]."

The Stars shuffled their lines at practice Friday, a day after a 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames. The top line consisted of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Patrick Sharp; against Calgary, Cody Eakin had centered Benn and Seguin.

The second line Friday featured Jason Spezza centering Mattias Janmark and Ales Hemsky. On Thursday, Spezza had centered Valeri Nichushkin and Sharp. Eakin centered the third line Friday, flanked by Antoine Roussel and Nichushkin.

Only the fourth line of Colton Sceviour, Vernon Fiddler and Patrick Eaves remained intact.

On defense Jyrki Jokipakka, a healthy scratch the past three games, could return to the lineup on the third pair alongside Jordie Benn.

Both Stars goalies came off the ice at almost the same time Friday. Kari Lehtonen had started the past two games so it's likely that Antti Niemi starts Saturday.

Here are the projected lineups:


Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Alex Galchenyuk

Tomas Fleischmann - David Desharnais - Dale Weise

Michael McCarron - Lars Eller - Paul Byron

Daniel Carr - Torrey Mitchell - Brian Flynn

Nathan Beaulieu - P.K. Subban

Alexei Emelin - Jeff Petry

Andrei Markov - Tom Gilbert

Mike Condon

Dustin Tokarski

Injured: Brendan Gallagher (hand), Carey Price (lower body), Devante Smith-Pelly (lower body)

Scratched: Sven Andrighetto, Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi


Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Sharp

Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Ales Hemsky

Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Valeri Nichushkin

Colton Sceviour - Vernon Fiddler - Patrick Eaves

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya - Jason Demers

Jyrki Jokipakka - Jordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Injured: None

Scratched: Travis Moen, Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak

Status report: Andrighetto likely will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season. … Moen likely will be scratched for the 13th time this season, Nemeth for the 12th time and Oleksiak for the 16th time.

Who's hot: Subban has one point in seven games but playing the Stars could change that; he has five points in six career games against them. … Oduya has four goals this season, his most in a season since scoring a career-high seven in 2008-09 with the New Jersey Devils. … Seguin has 10 assists and 17 points in 19 career games against Montreal. … Sharp has a six-game point streak against the Canadiens; he has four goals and seven points in 10 career games against Montreal.

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