PREDATORS (30-10-4) at CANADIENS (28-13-3)
TV: FS-TN, RDS, SNE
MONTREAL -- Goalie Carey Price will start for the Montreal Canadiens against the Nashville Predators at Bell Centre on Tuesday.
Price missed Montreal's 6-4 win against the New York Islanders on Saturday because of an upper body injury he sustained as the result of a collision with Matt Calvert of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday.
There was concern that Price might not be able to take part in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Columbus on Sunday.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said Price would face the Predators after the morning skate at the team's suburban practice facility.
"He's a true leader," Therrien said. "He's a guy who wants to make the difference. It's important for our hockey team that he's got that type of attitude, and he's got a great attitude. He wants to play, he wants to win, and he wants his hockey team to be successful."
Montreal faces its second straight tough test against one of the League's top teams.
"Every team's a different challenge but if you look at where they are in the standings, you have to treat them exactly like that," Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher said. "I think they've earned that respect. They brought in a new coach this year and they've got some very good players on that side, and like always, they're a team that really concentrates on not allowing a lot but they've added some guys who can put pucks in the net as well, and they've been doing a good job and finding a way to get points."
The Predators are on an 8-1-2 run despite a 5-2 loss at the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday that ended their season-high winning streak at five games.
"That's a big team that is playing good hockey," Therrien said. "They have a group of defensemen that is very involved in the game. We had a big challenge during our last game against the Islanders and we'll face another big challenge tonight. They are surely going to want to bounce back. Good teams like that don't want to lose two games in a row. It didn't go that well for them in Detroit so they'll be ready, and I'm sure we're also going to be ready so it should be an excellent game."
Nashville coach Peter Laviolette is very familiar with the Canadiens from his previous experience facing them in the Eastern Conference.
"They're having a great year," Laviolette said. "They're a lot to handle offensively, the way they play the game. Defensively I think we're going to have to be real sharp with what we do."
Predators captain Shea Weber said he is mindful of Montreal's speed.
"They're a good transition team," Weber said. "If you turn pucks over they're quick to go the over way and they've got some skill. The guy in net is as solid as they come as well."
Weber is well acquainted with Price, his teammate on Canada's gold medal-winning team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Both will be heading to Columbus this weekend, but Nashville's All-Star defenseman said he wants to make sure the Predators go into the break on a high note.
"We're focused on tonight," Weber said. "We know we're playing a good team over there, they're near the top of the East and they've been up near the top for most of the year. It's going to be a tough game so we can't take them lightly and we can't be going easy into the break. We've got to finish it up."
Here are the projected lineups:
Filip Forsberg – Mike Ribeiro – Craig Smith
Colin Wilson – Mike Fisher – James Neal
Eric Nystrom – Paul Gaustad – Olli Jokinen
Gabriel Bourque – Calle Jarnkrok – Matt Cullen
Roman Josi – Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm – Anton Volchenkov
Victor Bartley - Seth Jones
Scratched: Taylor Beck
Injured: Pekka Rinne (sprained knee), Ryan Ellis (lower body)
Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Dale Weise
Alex Galchenyuk - David Desharnais - Brendan Gallagher
Jiri Sekac - Lars Eller - Christian Thomas
Michael Bournival - Manny Malhotra - Brandon Prust
Nathan Beaulieu - P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov - Sergei Gonchar
Alexei Emelin - Tom Gilbert
Scratched: Mike Weaver
Injured: Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau (concussion)
Status report: Nystrom returns after missing five games because of an upper-body injury. ... Parenteau will miss his second game in a row, and fifth in the past seven. He missed three games after sustaining a concussion on Jan. 2 on a hit by Tim Sestito of the New Jersey Devils. Parenteau returned Wednesday and played again the following day at the Ottawa Senators, but has had concussion-like symptoms since.
Who's hot: Fisher has a six-game points streak (4 goals, 3 assists). His next point will be the 500th of his career. Wilson has three goals and four assists in his past four games. ... Pacioretty ended a six-game goals streak Saturday but extended his points streak to seven games with two assists in Montreal's 6-4 win against the New York Islanders. He has seven goals and three assists during the streak.