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Canadiens at Bruins preview

Boston seeks to tighten Atlantic Division race; Montreal aims to extend point streak to six

by Matt Kalman / Correspondent

CANADIENS (25-29-10) at BRUINS (39-15-8)



The Game 

The Boston Bruins will look for their 16th win in 21 games and try to close the gap on first place in the Atlantic Division when they host the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden on Saturday.

The Bruins, who seek their third straight win and are 15-5-0 in their past 20 games, trail the Tampa Bay Lightning by six points for first place with three games in hand. Boston leads the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs by one point with four games in hand.

Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin will start; No. 1 goaltender Tuukka Rask, who has a minor undisclosed injury, will be the backup.

The Canadiens, 3-0-2 in their past five games after a six-game losing streak (0-4-2), are nine points behind the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty will not play; he returned to Montreal on Saturday after sustaining a lower-body injury in the third period of a 6-3 win at the New York Islanders on Friday.

Players to watch

Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin has four points (one goal, three assists) in his past four games.

Bruins forward Brad Marchand has 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in his past 20 games.


They said it

"We're playing good hockey the last couple of weeks. We've got to keep building. Obviously not making the playoffs is hard, but we've got to stick together. We've got a lot of young guys coming in and chipping in." -- Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk

"So it's not all falling on one player ... we've kind of chopped it up by committee, that's what we've asked our guys to do, just be themselves, play to their ability, because I don't think you can replace Patrice with one player." -- Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy on winning the past two games without injured center Patrice Bergeron


Canadiens projected lineup

Alex Galchenyuk -- Jonathan Drouin -- Brendan Gallagher

Nicolas Deslauriers -- Phillip Danault -- Artturi Lehkonen

Paul Byron -- Jacob de la Rose -- Nikita Scherbak

Logan Shaw -- Byron Froese -- Andrew Shaw

Jordie Benn -- Jeff Petry

Noah Juulsen -- Karl Alzner

Mike Reilly -- David Schlemko

Antti Niemi

Charlie Lindgren

Scratched:  Rinat Valiev, Daniel Carr

Injured: Carey Price (concussion), Ales Hemsky (concussion), Charles Hudon, (hand), Victor Mete (hand), Max Pacioretty (lower body)


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Riley Nash -- David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk -- David Krejci -- Rick Nash

Danton Heinen -- David Backes -- Brian Gionta

Tim Schaller -- Sean Kuraly -- Noel Acciari

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- Kevan Miller

Nick Holden -- Brandon Carlo

Anton Khudobin

Tuukka Rask

Scratched: Adam McQuaid, Tommy Wingels

Injured: Patrice Bergeron (fractured foot), Matt Grzelcyk (lower body)


Status report

Neither team held a morning skate. ... Valiev was recalled from Laval of the American Hockey League on Friday. ... Mete, like Pacioretty returned to Montreal on Saturday.

Stat pack

Galchenyuk had his second career hat trick and matched a career-best with four points against the Islanders on Friday. ... Rick Nash has three points (two goals, one assist) in his first three games with the Bruins since he was traded from the New York Rangers on Sunday.

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