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At the Rink: Canucks at Canadiens

by Sean Farrell

MONTREAL -- Three weeks ago, the Vancouver Canucks put an emphatic end to the Montreal Canadiens' bid to match the NHL record for the longest winning streak to start a season.

On Monday at Bell Centre (7:30 p.m. ET; SNP, RDS, SNE), Vancouver will face a Montreal team that gave up a season-high in goals in a 6-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Canucks coach Willie Desjardins expects the Canadiens will have plenty of motivation to respond to their losses to Colorado and Vancouver.

"They're a good team, they were on a good stretch when we ran into them," Desjardins said after the Canucks held an optional morning skate. "Lots of speed, like lots and lots of speed. They have a lot of different weapons from different spots in their lineup. All their lines have contributed and they have a good back end too, they can score off their back end. So they're a good team in all facets of the game."

Vancouver's 5-1 win at Rogers Arena on Oct. 27 ended Montreal streak of nine straight wins to open the season, leaving the Canadiens one victory short of matching the League record.

"Personally I don't like when teams beat us like that, I mean, you always remember it, but our approach is it's just another opportunity for us to get on the winning side of things," Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban said. "Tough game last game, and we all know we can be better. We did a lot of things well, but in this League you only get rewarded for wins so we have to come out with our best effort (Monday), but definitely we know that they're a team that can score goals and I felt like they outworked us in Vancouver, so we can't let that happen."

Montreal is 13-3-2 for 28 points, tied with the Dallas Stars for second place in the NHL, two points behind the New York Rangers.

Subban is not preoccupied about the Canadiens maintaining the best record in the League this early.

"We're just focused on the next game and continuing to get better, and we know that there's going to be juggling throughout the standings," Subban said. "We know that we want to remain one of the top teams in the League, but at the same token it's focusing on the process and we know where we want to be at the end of the season. That's the most important thing."

Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows flew to Vancouver on Sunday for the birth of his child, and Brandon Sutter is not ready to return from his injury, so Hunter Shinkaruk will make his NHL debut on a line with Adam Cracknell and Derek Dorsett.

Shinkaruk was selected by Vancouver in the first round (No. 24) of the 2013 NHL Draft. He was tied for the AHL lead with 10 goals in 12 games with Utica.

"He's always been a guy that likes to score, so that's certainly something we can use in the lineup," Desjardins said.

The 21-year-old Calgary native slept as a child on Canadiens bedsheets gifted to him by his grandparents, and attended a Canada game at Bell Centre during the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

"I'm going to be so excited, I don't know if I'm going to be able to get a nap in today," said Shinkaruk, whose parents will be on hand for the game. "I'm looking forward to it. This is a dream, so it should be cool."

Canadiens defenseman Greg Pateryn will remain in the lineup after making his season debut Saturday. A lower-body injury to Alexei Emelin finally provided an opportunity for Pateryn, who had to bide his time for an opening because Montreal coach Michel Therrien used the same defense pairs while the team won 13 of its first 17 games.

"You obviously love the success that the team is having, but at the same time you want to be able to contribute in your own way too," Pateryn said. "But I think the way you act off the ice can go a long way in just having a positive attitude and coming hard to work every day and the practices that we do get in, just making sure that you're helping those guys get ready for their game and at the same time keeping yourself ready."

The Canucks have one win, 5-3 at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, in their past six games, including a 1-3-1 start to their seven-game road trip that ends against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

"It's been a disappointing trip," Desjardins said. "I think there's games we could have won that we haven't. I think we were fortunate to win in Columbus, that was a game we let get away from us a little bit. It's either we've got to score one more or we've got to stop one more, but it always seems like it's one goal that's the difference right now."

Here are the projected lineups:


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen

Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Jake Virtanen

Chris Higgins - Jared McCann - Radim Vrbata

Hunter Shinkaruk - Adam Cracknell - Derek Dorsett

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Dan Hamhuis - Yannick Weber

Ben Hutton - Matt Bartkowski

Jacob Markstrom

Ryan Miller

Injured: Luca Sbisa (undisclosed), Brandon Prust (ankle), Brandon Sutter, Alexandre Burrows (personal)

Scratched: None


Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher

Lars Eller - Alex Galchenyuk - Alexander Semin

Tomas Fleischmann - David Desharnais - Dale Weise

Devante Smith-Pelly - Torrey Mitchell - Brian Flynn

Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban

Nathan Beaulieu - Jeff Petry

Tom Gilbert - Greg Pateryn

Mike Condon

Dustin Tokarski

Injured: Carey Price (lower body), Alexei Emelin (lower body)

Scratched: Paul Byron, Jarred Tinordi

Status report: Sbisa and Prust are getting closer to returning from their respective injuries. "We'll want to see them in one more practice for sure and evaluate just to get them in a bit more of a bigger group, but I think physically they're ready," Desjardins said. "They've been pushed hard and they're at that point." … Price worked out in full equipment for a second day in a row with goaltending coach Stephane Waite before the Canadiens' optional morning skate. "Everything is going well with his rehab, he's following the plan, but it's too early to talk about his return," Therrien said. Emelin did not practice and remains day-to-day.

Who's hot: Edler has points in his past two games, and two goals and one assist in his past four. Daniel Sedin has a goal and four assists in his past three games. Henrik Sedin has two goals and two assists, and Hansen has two goals and three assists during the same span. … Gallagher, Plekanec and Pacioretty each have four-game point streaks. Gallagher, who has scored in consecutive games, has three goals and three assists, Plekanec has two goals and three assists, and Pacioretty has one goal and four assists.

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