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Predators' Jackman doubtful; Canadiens without Gilbert

Montreal defenseman day-to-day with lower-body injury

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

PREDATORS (27-21-11) at CANADIENS (28-27-4) 

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET; RDS, SNE, FS-TN, NHL.TV  

MONTREAL -- Nashville Predators defenseman Barret Jackman is not expected to be in the lineup against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Monday.

Jackman sustained an upper-body injury when he crashed into the end boards in the second period of the 2-1 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. 

He was on the ice for the morning skate, but was not paired with another defenseman during rushes. 

"We've got bodies on the trip here," coach Peter Laviolette said. "We'll make sure that he's 100 percent healthy and ready to go. He'll play every game he can and every game that we need him to play because he's that type of a guy, but we've got enough people to manage this with a back-to-back." 

Defenseman Anthony Bitetto had Petter Granberg on his right side instead of Jackman, who has played 58 games this season and missed eight games during the previous four seasons with the St. Louis Blues. 

Bitetto and Granberg have played a combined total of 35 NHL games. 

"It's a little bit more difficult on the road, but I think Tony's done a good job of jumping in here, he's been really good in the games," Laviolette said. "Petter's looked good in the games he's played. We've been in a fortunate situation where we haven't needed Petter, but he's done a good job when he's been called upon." 

With the likes of Shea Weber and Roman Josi heading up Nashville's active corps of defensemen, Bitetto says there is less pressure on him to contribute offensively. 

"I think you have our top-4 guys who are pretty offensive and can make special plays," Bitetto said. "On any other team they could be 1-2s down the chart. So I think being a part of that group is pretty cool and it's nice for me to play behind those guys and learn from them and kind of be a student of the game in that sense." 

The Predators have points in five straight games (2-0-3) despite losing three of them in overtime. They are fifth in the Central Division with 65 points, one ahead of the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. 

"We've put ourselves in a kind of bad spot from where we were," center Filip Forsberg said. "We started the season pretty good and then went cold for a while, but I think we're starting to play better again. Obviously we'll need that down the stretch. It's going to be tough. I mean, Minnesota is really on fire right now trying to catch us and I think it's all about getting the two points every night. That's all you think about." 

Montreal will also be missing a defenseman because of injury Monday. Coach Michel Therrien said Tom Gilbert is day-to-day with a lower-body injury he sustained during the second period of the 3-2 shootout win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday. 

"He was playing really well," Therrien said. "It's too bad he got hurt again, but we lost Jeff (Petry) and his role was bigger, and I thought he responded the right way." 

The Canadiens, who returned from a 0-3-0 road trip Friday, have won four straight at Bell Centre. Montreal is 13th in the Eastern Conference with 60 points, eight behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. 

"It's important to get back to that winning culture that we had around here, and obviously no one enjoys losing hockey games but you have to do a lot of things right to win in this League and for us to just do that consistently right now is what we're focusing on and hopefully we can build on the last game," right wing Brendan Gallagher said. "I mean, that was a big win for us; hopefully we can carry that over." 

Here are the projected lineups: 


Calle Jarnkrok - Ryan Johansen - James Neal  

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith  

Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Viktor Arvidsson  

Miikka Salomaki - Paul Gaustad - Austin Watson  

Roman Josi - Shea Weber 

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis  

Anthony Bitetto - Petter Granberg 

Injured: Barret Jackman (upper body), Eric Nystrom (broken foot), Gabriel Bourque (upper body) 

Scratched: Cody Bass  


Max Pacioretty - Lars Eller - Dale Weise  

Alex Galchenyuk - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher 

Tomas Fleischmann - Jacob De La Rose - Paul Byron  

Sven Andrighetto - Torrey Mitchell - Devante Smith-Pelly  

Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban  

Alexei Emelin - Nathan Beaulieu  

Mark Barberio - Greg Pateryn  

Mike Condon  

Ben Scrivens  

Injured: Carey Price (lower body), Jeff Petry (lower body), Daniel Carr (knee), David Desharnais (broken left foot), Brian Flynn (lower body), Tom Gilbert (lower body) 

Scratched: Lucas Lessio  

Status report: The Predators signed forward Colton Sissons to a three-year, $1.875 million contract Monday. Selected by Nashville in the second round (No. 50) of the 2012 NHL Draft, the 22-year-old center has two goals and six points in 36 games with the Predators, including a goal and an assist in 19 games this season. He has six goals and 16 points in 33 games with Milwaukee of the American Hockey League. ... With Barberio drawing into the lineup in place of Gilbert, Beaulieu will move to the right side and play with Emelin. 

Who's hot: Forsberg has nine points (six goals, three assists) in his past seven games. … Ribeiro has eight assists in eight games. … Ekholm has five assists in six games. … Subban has 22 points in his past 22 games (four goals, 18 assists). … Weise has two goals and an assist in his past three games.

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