CANADIENS (20-14-3) at LIGHTNING (18-15-3)
TV: RDS, SNE, SUN
TAMPA – The Montreal Canadiens will try to avoid a seven-game losing streak for the first time in more than 20 years Monday against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.
Montreal (20-14-3) hasn't lost seven straight since a stretch that included the end of the 1994-95 season and the beginning of the 1995-96 season. The Canadiens face the Lightning for the first time since the Eastern Conference Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. The Lightning won that series in six games.
The Canadiens acquired goalie Ben Scrivens in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers on Monday for forward Zack Kassian. Scrivens, 29, was playing with Bakersfield of the American Hockey League this season and will back up rookie Mike Condon against the Lightning.
"I'm definitely happy with how things played out," Scrivens said of the trade. "Definitely happy to get a new chance and a chance to play in the NHL again."
Since starting the season 9-0-0, the Canadiens have been dealing with many injuries, none greater than goalie and reigning NHL Most Valuable Player Carey Price. Price hasn't played since Nov. 25 and there is no timetable for his return.
Forward Tomas Plekanec said the Canadiens have to continue to work hard to turn things around.
"It's tough, it's never easy whether you lose three or five or eight, it's never easy,” Plekanec said. "But we'll find a way. I know we will. Obviously we're missing those guys, there's no question about that, but we played well when Price was out the first time. Condon played well. We just haven't scored enough goals."
Tampa Bay (18-15-3) seems to be getting a little healthier and could welcome forwards Brian Boyle and Tyler Johnson back to the lineup Monday.
Boyle has missed the past two games after taking a hit from Ottawa Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki last Sunday. Johnson has not played since Dec. 10.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper said that Boyle was probable, but was less committal about Johnson.
"Johnson is close," Cooper said. "Boyle, I suspect, is going to play [Monday] while Johnson is up in the air."
The Lightning see Monday as a golden opportunity to make up ground on a division opponent and continue to improve their chances of getting into a playoff slot.
"I don't think any team in our division should believe they are out of it by any means,” Lightning center Steven Stamkos said. "Four, six points, you can make that up pretty quick in this League. So this is a good chance for us to get back in the mix for our goal, which is first in the division."
Lightning goalie Ben Bishop will make his 200th career NHL start.
Here are the projected lineups:
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Dale Weise
Lars Eller – Alex Galchenyuk – Daniel Carr
Tomas Fleischmann – Tomas Plekanec – Paul Byron
Brian Flynn – Torrey Mitchell – Sven Andrighetto
Nathan Beaulieu – P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov – Jeff Petry
Mark Barberio – Greg Pateryn
Injured: Carey Price (lower body), Brendan Gallagher (hand), Tom Gilbert (lower body)
Scratched: Jarred Tinordi, Devante Smith-Pelly, Greg Pateryn
Vladislav Namestnikov - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Valtteri Filppula - Jonathan Marchessault
J.T. Brown - Brian Boyle - Ryan Callahan
Mike Blunden - Cedric Paquette - Erik Condra
Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn - Andrej Sustr
Jason Garrison - Nikita Nesterov
Injured: Ondrej Palat (undisclosed), Tyler Johnson (undisclosed), Jonathan Drouin (lower body), Joel Vermin (hand surgery).
Scratched: Mike Angelidis, Matthew Carle
Status report: In a corresponding move to the Scrivens trade the Canadiens reassigned goalie Dustin Tokarski to St. John's of the AHL. ...Cooper said Drouin continues to have a slow recovery from injury -- slower than most expected -- but he doesn't think there's been a setback. "You just have to err on the side of caution because you don't want this to happen again," Cooper said. ... Barberio was recalled from St. John's on Sunday. He was a member of the Lightning for two seasons (2013-2015).
Who's hot: Marchessault has a six-game point streak (three goals, four assists). ... Carr scored the Canadiens' only goal in a 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday.