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Preview: Blue Jackets at Canadiens

Jordie Benn makes debut for Montreal; Columbus tries for third straight win

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

BLUE JACKETS (39-16-5) at CANADIENS (34-21-8)

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


Blue Jackets team scope

Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said his team is focused on the task at hand rather than what other teams in the Metropolitan Division are doing to bolster their lineups leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline (March 1, 3 p.m. ET). "We don't think about our division, we don't think about tomorrow," Tortorella said after the morning skate at Bell Centre. "What's tomorrow? The deadline? One thing about our team this year is we're just trying to take each day. We don't get too convoluted with our thinking. We just try to be as simple as possible and worry about the day that's in hand." Blue Captain Nick Foligno agreed with respect to the Washington Capitals' acquisition of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in a trade with the St. Louis Blues. "It doesn't really concern us," Foligno said. "I think our mindset's always been what goes on in our room. You can't control what other teams are going to do. They're going to fill needs they think they need and we leave that up to our management to see what they think they need. But we feel we have a special group in here that has done well, and we obviously want to continue to do well so we have a chance in the playoffs." The Blue Jackets have won two in a row and are third in the Metropolitan Division with 83 points, one behind the second-place Pittsburgh Penguins and one ahead of the New York Rangers.


Canadiens team scope

Defenseman Jordie Benn will make his debut with the Montreal Canadiens. Benn, 29, was acquired from the Dallas Stars on Monday in a trade for defenseman Greg Pateryn and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Montreal, which won 4-3 in overtime at the New Jersey Devils on Monday, did not have a morning skate but Benn confirmed that he will play Tuesday when he spoke to reporters in the locker room at their practice facility in Brossard, Quebec. "I've never seen so many cameras before in front of my face Obviously being in Dallas is a bit different, but I'm excited, it's awesome," Benn said. "Growing up, obviously everybody knows the Montreal Canadiens and the storied franchise that's here, and I'm just excited to be here." Benn was asked to describe his style of play. "Just a stay-at-home defenseman, give the pucks to the forwards, make them do the work," Benn said. "I'm not supposed to put the puck in the net but if I can contribute offensively, that's great. I'm just supposed to keep the puck out of the net and help our forwards and get them the puck. So as long as I can move my feet and give them the puck with a good first pass, I'll be good." He can play either side, though he said he didn't know who he will be paired with. "Right now I'm more comfortable on the right just because I've been there all year pretty much," Benn said. "I've only played a few games on the left but wherever they need me I'll get used to it pretty quick and we'll get at it.


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Cam Atkinson

Scott Hartnell -- Sam Gagner -- Brandon Saad

Nick Foligno -- Alexander Wennberg -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Markus Hannikainen -- Josh Anderson

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Ryan Murray -- Markus Nutivaara

Scott Harrington

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Dalton Prout

Injured: William Karlsson (illness), Lukas Sedlak (oblique), Matt Calvert (oblique)


Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Alexander Radulov

Artturi Lehkonen -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Brendan Gallagher

Paul Byron -- Tomas Plekanec -- Andrew Shaw

Sven Andrighetto -- David Desharnais -- Torrey Mitchell

Andrei Markov -- Shea Weber

Alexei Emelin -- Jeff Petry

Nathan Beaulieu -- Jordie Benn

Carey Price

Al Montoya

Scratched: Nikita Nesterov, Brian Flynn, Michael McCarron

Injured: None


Status report

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Karlsson does not have the mumps and was returning to Columbus, though Tortorella said he was a game-time decision. … Price will play after Montoya was in goal against New Jersey


Who's hot

Dubinsky, who needs one point for his 400th in the NHL, has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past nine games. Wennberg has eight points (two goals, six assists) in his past five games. ... Pacioretty, who scored two goals Monday, has 16 points (10 goals, six assists) in his past 13 games. His next point will be his 400th. Radulov had four points (one goal, three assists) against New Jersey.

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