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Panthers at Canadiens preview

Florida tries for seventh straight victory; Montreal has won five of seven

by Sean Farrell / Independent Correspondent

PANTHERS (28-16-5) at CANADIENS (23-22-7)

2 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, FS-F, NHL.TV


The Game

The Florida Panthers will try to extend their longest winning streak of the season to seven games when they face the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday.

Florida, which is playing its first game since a 4-3 win at the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 21, has scored at least four goals in each of its six consecutive wins. The Panthers are 13-4-0 in their past 17 games.

Montreal is 5-2-0 in its past seven games since going 0-7-1 during its second eight-game winless streak this season. The Canadiens are coming off a 3-1 win at the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.


Players to watch

Panthers forward Evgenii Dadonov has a four-game goal streak and has six points (five goals, one assist) in a six-game point streak. He has 11 points (nine goals, two assists) in his past 10 games.

Canadiens forward Tomas Tatar has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past five games.


They said it

"Everybody had a good break, and we're ready to continue what we started [the] last couple of weeks and we just want to keep going, win games and make the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs." -- Panthers center Aleksander Barkov

"The coach (Claude Julien), he gave me the opportunity to play the role I always played, and it's easier for me to do than what I did [with the Los Angeles Kings], so that's the difference." -- Canadiens forward Ilya Kovalchuk, who has nine points (five goals, four assists) in 10 games since signing a one-year contract with Montreal on Jan. 3


Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Brett Connolly -- Vincent Trocheck -- Noel Acciari

Frank Vatrano -- Dominic Toninato -- Mike Hoffman

Jayce Hawryluk -- Brian Boyle -- Colton Sceviour

Mike Matheson -- Aaron Ekblad

Riley Stillman -- Anton Stralman

Keith Yandle -- Josh Brown

Sergei Bobrovsky

Sam Montembeault

Scratched: Mark Pysyk, Denis Malgin

Injured: Chris Driedger (lower body), MacKenzie Weegar (upper body)


Canadiens projected lineup

Tomas Tatar -- Phillip Danault -- Brendan Gallagher

Artturi Lehkonen -- Nick Suzuki -- Joel Armia

Nick Cousins -- Max Domi -- Ilya Kovalchuk

Ryan Poehling -- Nate Thompson -- Dale Weise

Ben Chiarot -- Shea Weber

Brett Kulak -- Jeff Petry

Marco Scandella -- Victor Mete

Carey Price

Charlie Lindgren

Scratched: Jordan Weal

Injured: Paul Byron (upper body), Jonathan Drouin (wrist)


Status report

The Panthers practiced Thursday and Friday before flying to Montreal. … The Canadiens did not practice Friday. … Montreal assigned forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi and defenseman Cale Fleury to Laval of the American Hockey League.


Stat pack

Huberdeau has 28 points (seven goals, 21 assists) in his past 17 games. … Hoffman has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) during a 10-game point streak. ... Barkov, who needs one point for 400 in the NHL, has nine points (three goals, six assists) during a six-game point streak. … Vatrano, who scored a hat trick against the Blackhawks, has nine points (five goals, four assists) during a five-game point streak. … Danault has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past five games.

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