CANADIENS (25-30-11) at PANTHERS (32-25-7)
7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV
The Florida Panthers will try for their seventh consecutive home victory when they face the Montreal Canadiens at BB&T Center on Thursday.
The Panthers are two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with three games in hand.
Florida, which lost 5-4 in overtime at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, is in the midst of a stretch of 11 out of 12 games at BB&T Center.
The Canadiens are 0-1-1 in their past two games and are 12 points behind Columbus.
The game will be Claude Julien's 250th as Canadiens coach.
Players to watch
Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk has three goals and two assists during a four-game point streak.
Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov has five goals and seven assists during his season-high seven-game point streak.
They said it
"It's important we start right against the same kind of team. The team we played (Tuesday) was desperate, they had lost three in a row and were trying to make a playoff run and so (are the Panthers). Hopefully, we're ready for that." - Canadiens coach Claude Julien on rebounding from a 6-4 loss at the New Jersey Devils in which his team trailed 4-0 in the first period.
"Between him and (Aleksander Barkov), I think they've really carried this team. (Luongo) has been playing his best hockey I've seen in a long, long time." - Panthers coach Bob Boughner.
Canadiens projected lineup
Alex Galchenyuk -- Jonathan Drouin -- Artturi Lehkonen
Nikita Scherbak -- Phillip Danault -- Brendan Gallagher
Paul Byron -- Jacob de la Rose -- Andrew Shaw
Nicolas Deslauriers -- Byron Froese -- Daniel Carr
Mike Reilly -- Jeff Petry
Karl Alzner -- Noah Juulsen
Jordie Benn -- Rinat Valiev
Scratched: David Schlemko, Logan Shaw
Injured: Carey Price (concussion), Ales Hemsky (concussion), Charles Hudon (hand), Victor Mete (hand), Max Pacioretty (lower body)
Panthers projected lineup
Evgenii Dadonov -- Aleksander Barkov -- Nick Bjugstad
Jonathan Huberdeau -- Vincent Trocheck -- Radim Vrbata
Jamie McGinn -- Jared McCann -- Maxim Mamin
Micheal Haley -- Derek MacKenzie -- Colton Sceviour
Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad
Mike Matheson -- Mark Pysyk
MacKenzie Weegar -- Alexander Petrovic
Scratched: Connor Brickley, Ian McCoshen
Injured: Frank Vatrano (ankle), Denis Malgin (lower body)
The Canadiens did not hold a morning skate. Niemi, who sustained a lower-body injury Saturday against the Boston Bruins, practiced Wednesday and could start. … Vatrano and Malgin took part in the Panthers' optional skate. Vatrano might play against the New York Rangers on Saturday. The Panthers are hoping Malgin will return next week.
Montreal is 0-for-9 on the power play in its past three games. … Barkov has 66 points and needs four more to become the first Panthers player to reach 70 since 2007-08, when Olli Jokinen did it. Dadonov has four consecutive two-point games (two goals, six assists).