BLUE JACKETS (26-27-3) at CANADIENS (37-16-5)
TV: TVA SPORTS, CITY, FS-O
MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens have been getting more shots on goal lately, but that hasn't meant more goals.
Montreal, which has had 44 and 39 shots on goal in its past two games, hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bell Centre on Saturday.
The Canadiens lost 3-2 to the Florida Panthers on Thursday in a shootout, the fourth straight game they have scored two goals. Montreal has not scored more than three goals in any of its past seven games.
Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher scored each Montreal goal from in tight Thursday, and forward Lars Eller said they will have to get in on Columbus goalie Curtis McElhinney.
"We've just got to get more on the inside," Eller said. "We are getting a lot of shots from the outside. We've got to be in front of the net to take the goalie's eyes away and get rebounds, get dirty goals like the ones Gallagher got last game. We all have to get on the inside and battle at the crease. That's where it's start."
Montreal left wing Alex Galchenyuk will miss his second game in a row because of the flu. Defenseman P.K. Subban did not take part in the morning skate at the Canadiens' suburban practice facility because of a therapy day, but he will be in the lineup.
With Alexei Emelin and Sergei Gonchar each out with an upper-body injury, Montreal will once again dress three defensemen who have played for Hamilton of the American Hockey League this season: Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi, and rookie Greg Pateryn.
The Canadiens will also play three rookie forwards: Jiri Sekac, Jacob De La Rose and Christian Thomas.
"When you face a situation like we are facing right now with key injuries, I see it more like an opportunity for young players to show where they are at," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "And this is exactly what we have been seeing since a few weeks. I think it's healthy, I think it's good for the players, and we don't mind to use our young players at all."
The Canadiens, who have lost 56 man-games through Thursday, have recent injury woes that pale in comparison to the Blue Jackets, who have lost 359 to date.
Columbus is in sixth place in the Metropolitan Division with 55 points, 10 points out of the second wild card in the Eastern Conference for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We're a resilient group," Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen said. "It's been tough to find our team game this year because of all the injuries, but for the last couple of games it really felt like we've taken strides as a team and doing the right things, and you never know what can happen, so we're just going to take it one game at a time."
McElhinney is 5-1-0 while starting six of Columbus' past seven games with Sergei Bobrovsky sidelined by a groin injury.
"We all know his abilities and obviously practice with him every day and know he's a great goalie," Johansen said. "It's a lot of pressure for him to come in and he's handled it great. Every game he's had a couple of those wow saves where the game could be going the other way so he's just been playing great for us. He's kept us in every game, gave us a chance to win and we're going to need that going forward until [Bobrovsky] is back."
Here are the projected lineups:
Scott Hartnell - Ryan Johansen - Alexander Wennberg
Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno - Artem Anisimov - Marko Dano
Corey Tropp - Mark Letestu - Jared Boll
Jack Johnson – David Savard
Kevin Connauton – James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin – Cody Goloubef
Scratched: Jordan Leopold, Jack Skille
Injured: Nathan Horton (back), Boone Jenner (stress fracture in back), Sergei Bobrovsky (groin), Jeremy Morin (upper body), Ryan Murray (high ankle sprain), Dalton Prout (upper body)
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais - Brendan Gallagher
Lars Eller – Tomas Plekanec – Jiri Sekac
Brandon Prust – Jacob De La Rose – Dale Weise
Michael Bournival – Manny Malhotra – Christian Thomas
Andrei Markov – P.K. Subban
Nathan Beaulieu – Tom Gilbert
Jarred Tinordi – Greg Pateryn
Scratched: Mike Weaver
Injured: Alex Galchenyuk (flu), Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau (concussion), Alexei Emelin (upper body), Sergei Gonchar (upper body)
Status report: Therrien and Columbus coach Todd Richards each will go with the same lineup he used Thursday. … Bobrovsky took part in the morning skate at Bell Centre. Richards said Bobrovsky is progressing in his drills and hopes he will be able to return next week. "A little bit more aggressive each day with [Bobrovsky]," Richards said.
Who's hot: Hartnell's eight-game point streak has tied his career-high. He has four goals and seven assists during the span, which is the longest active streak in the NHL. Dubinsky has scored a goal in four straight games. … Subban has six assists during a five-game point streak.