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Preview: Canadiens at Panthers

Montreal can clinch Atlantic Division with win against Florida

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

CANADIENS (45-24-9) at PANTHERS (33-34-11)

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


Canadiens team scope

The Montreal Canadiens will clinch the Atlantic Division with a victory. They also can clinch if they get one point against the Panthers, and the Toronto Maple Leafs lose against the Buffalo Sabres in any fashion and the Ottawa Senators lose against the Detroit Red Wings in any fashion; of if they Panthers and Maple Leafs each lose in regulation. "It's something to talk about, but at the end of the day we're just kind of worried about one game at a time," captain Max Pacioretty said. "We have four left and we've been going well as of late but we don't want any letdowns. We want to get some momentum going and we want everyone to feel good about their game going into the playoffs." Montreal has won four in a row, including a 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Defenseman Shea Weber will sit out the game, and the game against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday, and fly back to Montreal to have doctors examine his lower-body injury. Goalie Charlie Lindgren will make his second NHL start and first of the season. He made 26 saves in a 4-2 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on April 7, 2016.


Panthers team scope

The Florida Panthers, who have been eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention, recalled defensemen MacKenzie Weegar and Ian McCoshen from Springfield of the American Hockey League. Weegar, who was selected to the AHL All-Star Classic this season, will make his NHL debut against the Canadiens. Weegar is the cousin of former Montreal defenseman Craig Rivet and grew up a Canadiens fan. "He's a puck-moving D-man, plays a hard game," coach Tom Rowe said. "He likes to play physical at the right time and he's going to get a little power-play time tonight, too. It's a good opportunity for him. He deserves it, played great for us in Springfield this year, so we want to get a look and see what he can do up here." The Panthers again will be without center Aleksander Barkov (lower body), defenseman Aaron Ekblad (neck) and goalie Roberto Luongo (hip). Rowe said all three are day to day but unlikely to play again this season. With goalie James Reimer (upper body) still out, Reto Berra will make his third consecutive start.


Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Alexander Radulov

Paul Byron -- Tomas Plekanec -- Brendan Gallagher

Alex Galchenyuk -- Andrew Shaw -- Artturi Lehkonen

Dwight King -- Steve Ott -- Andreas Martinsen

Andrei Markov -- Jeff Petry

Brandon Davidson -- Nikita Nesterov

Nathan Beaulieu -- Alexei Emelin

Charlie Lindgren

Carey Price

Scratched: Brian Flynn, Michael McCarron

Injured: Shea Weber (lower body), Jordie Benn (upper body), Torrey Mitchell (flu), Al Montoya (lower body)


Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Vincent Trocheck -- Jaromir Jagr

Jussi Jokinen -- Nick Bjugstad -- Reilly Smith

Thomas Vanek -- Denis Malgin -- Jonathan Marchessault

Michael Sgarbossa -- Derek MacKenzie -- Colton Sceviour

Keith Yandle -- Jason Demers

Michael Matheson -- Alex Petrovic

Mark Pysyk -- MacKenzie Weegar

Reto Berra

Adam Wilcox

Scratched: Shawn Thornton, Jakub Kindl, Ian McCoshen

Injured: Roberto Luongo (hip), Aaron Ekblad (neck), Aleksander Barkov (upper body), James Reimer (upper body)


Status report

Benn will miss his third consecutive game, but Canadiens coach Claude Julien said the defenseman took another step in the right direction Monday morning. Benn is day to day. … Montoya, who hasn't played since March 21, took part in the morning skate. … Reimer took part in the morning skate and Rowe said he would be re-evaluated Tuesday. … Rowe said McCoshen would make his NHL debut when the Panthers face the St. Louis Blues at BB&T Center on Thursday.


Who's hot

Byron has nine points (six goals, three assists) in his past 10 games. … Gallagher has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past three games. … Danault has four points (two goals, two assists) during a three-point streak. … Huberdeau has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past six games. … Marchessault, who has six goals in his past six games, needs one to reach 30 this season. 

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