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Preview: Canadiens at Flames

Carey Price out with illness for Montreal; Calgary trying for eighth straight win

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

CANADIENS (38-21-8) at FLAMES (36-26-4)

9 p.m. ET; SNW, SNE, RDS, NHL.TV


Canadiens team scope

Goaltender Carey Price will not start for the Montreal Canadiens because of the flu. Al Montoya will be in net trying for Montreal's seventh consecutive victory. Forward Tomas Plekanec will miss his second straight game. "We're continuing to see progress with his upper-body injury," coach Claude Julien told the Canadiens website Wednesday. "I think we'll see him back skating again soon and then we can figure out where we're headed with him." The Canadiens lead the Ottawa Senators by four points for first place in the Atlantic Division and are 7-2-0 since Julien replaced Michel Therrien on Feb. 14. "You have your ups and downs during the season, but right now the guys are feeling good about their game," Julien said. "I like the way we're competing right now. We're really working hard. Our skating game is where it should be. There's still some things we're working on, trying to get better at. When you're heading in that direction it's certainly encouraging for everybody."


Flames team scope

The Calgary Flames are looking to extend their season-high winning streak to eight games and can pass the Anaheim Ducks for third place in the Pacific Division with a victory and a Ducks loss in regulation at the Chicago Blackhawks. "We didn't have a lot of belief," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "When we won a few games in overtime, a couple of comebacks, that stuff starts to snowball. Our team has a lot more confidence than it did." Captain Mark Giordano said the Flames need to focus on one game, not what they've done previously. "Anytime you're in one of these streaks you don't want it to end," he said. "For us, we're just honestly trying to put the seven games aside and look at these two points tonight." Calgary is 12-2-1 since losing 5-1 at Montreal on Jan. 24. "We've gone on a run here and we haven't gotten into trouble, because when we do get down we're sticking with our game plan and we've got to continue that," Giordano said. Goalie Brian Elliott will start; he's 7-0-1 while allowing 16 goals in his past eight games. "He's been really good," Gulutzan said. "He's found his groove. From our perspective he's worked hard all year. He's a great pro and he's getting rewarded for that work."

Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Brendan Gallagher

Dwight King -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Artturi Lehkonen

Paul Byron -- Torrey Mitchell -- Andrew Shaw

Andreas Martinsen -- Steve Ott -- Michael McCarron

Andrei Markov -- Shea Weber

Alexei Emelin -- Jeff Petry

Nathan Beaulieu -- Jordie Benn

Al Montoya

Carey Price

Scratched: Nikita Nesterov, Brandon Davidson

Injured: Alexander Radulov (lower body), Tomas Plekanec (upper body), Brian Flynn (upper body)


Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Micheal Ferland

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Kris Versteeg -- Sam Bennett -- Troy Brouwer

Lance Bouma -- Matt Stajan -- Alex Chiasson

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Michael Stone

Matt Bartkowski -- Deryk Engelland

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Curtis Lazar, Freddie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman

Injured: None


Status report

The Canadiens did not have a morning skate; the Flames held an optional skate. … Radulov was expected to be re-evaluated Thursday. He has missed the past two games. Flynn sustained an upper-body injury during a 2-1 overtime win at the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and is doubtful. McCarron is expected to take his spot in the lineup. … The Flames are expected to use the same lineup for the eighth straight game.


Who's hot

Pacioretty has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in his past 12 games. … Backlund has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his past seven games.

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