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Preview: Kings at Canadiens

Goaltender Carey Price, Montreal eye ninth straight home victory; Peter Budaj to start for Los Angeles

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

KINGS (7-6-0) at CANADIENS (11-1-1)

7:30 p.m. ET; SN360, RDS, FS-W, NHL.TV)


Kings team scope

After winning 7-0 at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Kings face a tough test at Bell Centre on Thursday. The Montreal Canadiens, who lead the NHL with 23 points, have eight straight wins at home, their best such streak to start a season since 1953-54. "They're really good at home," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said after the morning skate Thursday. "This crowd is one of the best crowds in the League and this team definitely feeds off that crowd. We've got to get out there early and get the first goal and that crowd right out of it. They're a good team, they're fast. They've obviously got some new additions that make their team better. It's going to be a tough game." Los Angeles goalie Peter Budaj, who was Carey Price's backup for two seasons in Montreal, has made 10 consecutive starts, including three straight wins, and is 7-3-0 with a 1.86 goals-against average this season. "He just plays with a lot of confidence back there," Doughty said. "When he plays with all that confidence, us guys in front of him have a lot of confidence that if we mess up he's going to make the save."


Canadiens team scope

Goaltender Carey Price, who has 11 straight wins dating back to last season, will start for the Canadiens. He's 8-0-0 with a 1.63 goals-against-average and a .953 save percentage this season. Center David Desharnais will be left out of the Montreal lineup. Desharnais, who has no points in his past nine games, has not been a healthy scratch since Nov. 12, 2013. "We're very aware there's a lack of production on his part," coach Michel Therrien said after an optional morning skate. Therrien made a few changes to his lineup despite two straight wins that improved the Canadiens home record to 8-0-0. Phillip Danault will move from left wing to start at center for the first time this season on a line with Max Pacioretty and Andrew Shaw. "I just have to continue using my speed," Danault said. "I can't change my game at all because that won't work out well, so I just have to move my feet, be responsible defensively and that will lead to opportunities." Forward Sven Andrighetto and defenseman Joel Hanley will make their season debuts. 


Kings projected lineup

Tanner Pearson -- Anze Kopitar -- Teddy Purcell

Dwight King -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Dustin Brown -- Nic Dowd -- Devin Setoguchi

Kyle Clifford -- Nick Shore -- Trevor Lewis

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Alec Martinez -- Jake Muzzin  

Kevin Gravel -- Matt Greene

Peter Budaj

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Tom Gilbert, Jordan Nolan

Injured: Jonathan Quick (lower body), Marian Gaborik (lower body), Brayden McNabb (upper body), Andy Andreoff (upper body)


Canadiens projected lineup

Paul Byron -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Alexander Radulov

Sven Andrighetto -- Tomas Plekanec -- Brendan Gallagher

Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Andrew Shaw

Daniel Carr -- Torrey Mitchell -- Brian Flynn

Alexei Emelin -- Shea Weber

Andrei Markov -- Jeff Petry

Nathan Beaulieu -- Greg Pateryn

Carey Price

Al Montoya

Scratched: David Desharnais, Joel Hanley

Injured: Artturi Lehkonen (upper body), Zach Redmond (broken foot)


Status report

Budaj was the first goalie off the ice, though Kings coach Darryl Sutter would not discuss his lineup. Gilbert, who is eligible to return from his three-game suspension, and Nolan remained late at the morning skate. ... Price, Weber, Gallagher, Plekanec, Mitchell, Radulov, Shaw and Pacioretty did not participate in Montreal's optional morning skate. ... Pateryn will be a healthy scratch after playing nine consecutive games.


Who's hot

Carter, who scored two goals Tuesday, has three goals in two games, and three goals and an assist in his past three games. ... Forbort had three assists Tuesday. ... Galchenyuk has four goals and four assists during a six-game points streak. … Radulov has a goal and five assists in his past five games.

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