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Blackhawks at Canadiens preview

Drouin, Mete to make home debuts for Montreal; Chicago has 18 goals in first three games of season

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

BLACKHAWKS (2-0-1) at CANADIENS (1-2-0)



The Game

Center Jonathan Drouin and 19-year-old defenseman Victor Mete each will make his Bell Centre debut with the Montreal Canadiens in their home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Drouin had an assist and scored the deciding goal in Montreal's 3-2 shootout win in their season opener at the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday to begin a 1-2-0 road trip.

Chicago ends a two-game road trip that began with a 4-3 overtime loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. Goaltender Corey Crawford will start in his hometown after Anton Forsberg made 39 saves against Toronto in his first start for the Blackhawks. Chicago has 18 goals in its first three games, the second most in the NHL; the Toronto Maple Leafs have 19 in their opening three games.


Players to watch

Forward Brandon Saad leads the Blackhawks with four goals and is tied with forwards Patrick Kane (two goals, four assists) and Ryan Hartman (one goal, five assists) for the Chicago lead in points with six. 

Mete is minus-1 and has averaged 18:16 of ice time through his first three games, mostly paired with Shea Weber.


They said it

"When you're kind of out of position sometimes you try and get a stick on their stick, try and knock the puck off, and you make any contact with their hands or their pants or whatever, they're going to call it. So it's something we have to be careful with going forward." -- Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews about the four slashing penalties called against Chicago on Monday

"We played two teams that had their home opener (at the Sabres and at the Washington Capitals on Saturday) and you definitely feel that energy. I think we should bring that same energy, and when you play your first home game you have the crowd behind you, there's something in the building tonight and we're definitely going to have that coming in." -- Drouin on the start to the Canadiens season


Blackhawks projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Jonathan Toews -- Richard Panik

Ryan Hartman -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Patrick Sharp -- Tanner Kero -- Alex DeBrincat

Lance Bouma -- Tommy Wingels -- John Hayden

Duncan Keith -- Brent Seabrook

Michal Kempny -- Connor Murphy

Gustav Forsling -- Jan Rutta

Corey Crawford

Anton Forsberg

Scratched: Cody Franson, Jordan Oesterle

Injured: Nick Schmaltz (upper body)


Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Jonathan Drouin -- Brendan Gallagher

Charles Hudon -- Tomas Plekanec -- Artturi Lehkonen

Alex Galchenyuk -- Phillip Danault -- Andrew Shaw

Paul Byron -- Torrey Mitchell -- Ales Hemsky

Jordie Benn -- Shea Weber

Karl Alzner -- Jeff Petry

Victor Mete -- Brandon Davidson

Carey Price

Al Montoya

Scratched: Joe Morrow, Mark Streit, Jacob De La Rose

Injured: David Schlemko (hand)


Status report

Hemsky replaces De La Rose on the Canadiens' fourth line after he was a healthy scratch for Montreal's 2-0 loss at the New York Rangers on Sunday. ... Schlemko took part in the morning skate; Julien said he is getting closer to returning but he does not yet have a specific game targeted.


Stat pack

The Canadiens are playing their fourth game in six days. ... Panik (three goals, two assists) and Saad (four goals, two assists) each have points in the Blackhawks' first three games.

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