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Preview: Blackhawks at Canadiens

Montreal goalie Carey Price to play 500th NHL game; Chicago begins three-game trip

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

BLACKHAWKS (43-20-5) at CANADIENS (39-22-8)



Blackhawks team scope

The Chicago Blackhawks enter Tuesday one point out of first place in the Central Division following a 4-2 win against the division-leading Minnesota Wild on Sunday. Coach Joel Quenneville expects a hard game against Montreal, which has former Blackhawks forwards Andrew Shaw and Phillip Danault, in the opener of a three-game road trip that also includes games at the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs. "We expect a competitive team," Quenneville said after the morning skate at Bell Centre. "They're in an important race and coming off a great trip out west. So I think against them you've got to play the right way and [coach] Claude [Julien] has done a nice job with his group here. So you know they're going to be working hard. You know there's a couple of guys over there excited about playing us as well. So it'll be a good test for sure. It's a tough three-game trip against three Canadian teams that are all in the mix here, which is good for the game, but certainly we're going to have our hands full tonight." Captain Jonathan Toews expects Shaw to be pumped up to face his former teammates. "We're expecting him to give his best effort tonight and I think he's going to want to be a pest on the ice as well," Toews said. "I think he said I would be one of his targets tonight, so I'm expecting it"


Canadiens team scope

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price's start against Chicago will be his 500th NHL game. Price has allowed six goals during a six-game winning streak, including one in each of his past four games since Feb. 28, when he made 26 saves for his third shutout in Montreal's 1-0 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Canadiens are in first place in the Atlantic Division with 86 points, two ahead of the Ottawa Senators, who have played two fewer games. Defenseman Brandon Davidson will play for the second time in four games and Nathan Beaulieu will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season. "I don't expect Nathan to be happy about sitting out, but this is pro hockey," Julien said after the morning skate in Brossard, Quebec. "We have to make some tough decisions sometimes as a coach … and we feel strongly about making sure that our [defensemen] that are healthy are playing because we feel that we got some depth for that reason, that if something happens we have players that are ready."


Blackhawks projected lineup

Nick Schmaltz -- Jonathan Toews -- Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Ryan Hartman -- Tanner Kero -- Marian Hossa

Dennis Rasmussen -- Marcus Kruger -- Jordin Tootoo

Duncan Keith -- Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Brian Campbell -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: John Hayden, Tomas Jurco, Andrew Desjardins, Michal Kempny, Michal Rozsival

Injured: None


Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Alexander Radulov

Paul Byron -- Phillip Danault -- Brendan Gallagher

Artturi Lehkonen -- Tomas Plekanec -- Andrew Shaw

Dwight King -- Steve Ott -- Torrey Mitchell

Andrei Markov -- Shea Weber

Alexei Emelin -- Jeff Petry

Brandon Davidson -- Jordie Benn

Carey Price

Al Montoya

Scratched: Nathan Beaulieu, Michael McCarron, Andreas Martinsen

Injured: Nikita Nesterov (lower body), Brian Flynn (upper body)


Status report

Quenneville will use the same six defensemen as Sunday, though he said he would change his pairings. Rasmussen returns after being a healthy scratch for four straight games. Hayden will not play, but Quenneville said he hopes to play him during the trip. ... Julien will start the game with the same lines that finished Sunday, which means that Pacioretty, Galchenyuk and Radulov will remain together on the top line. Plekanec returns after missing the past three games because of an upper-body injury.


Who's hot

Kane has 13 points (10 goals, three assists) in eight games, and 24 points (15 goals, nine assists) in 16 games. Panarin has three points (two goals and one assist) in two games, and 17 points (five goals and 12 assists) in 16 games. Van Riemsdyk has scored goals in consecutive games. ... Pacioretty, who scored two goals in a 4-1 win at the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, has 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in his past 14 games. Byron had two goals and one assist for his first NHL three-point game Sunday. He has five points (four goals, one assist) in five games after going without a point in 13 straight games.

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