CANADIENS (27-13-6) at DEVILS (19-18-9)
7:30 p.m. ET; MSG+, SNE, RDS, NHL.TV
Canadiens team scope
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Al Montoya is expected to make his 13th start of the season in the first of a back-to-back. Carey Price will likely play at home against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. Montoya is 5-2-2 with a 1.55 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in 10 games against the Devils. The Canadiens, who did not hold a morning skate, are 2-4-0 in the past six games and have been outscored 24-15 during that stretch. "We need to play a lot tighter, play our style of hockey," coach Michel Therrien said after practice Thursday. "I find we've been getting away from that of late, so we have to get back to basics." Center Alex Galchenyuk, who was playing between Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov for the past three games since returning to the lineup from a knee injury, was centering Andrew Shaw and Sven Andrighetto at practice on Thursday. "It's very easy to see that Alex isn't at the level he was at earlier in the season, not only offensively but defensively," Therrien said. "I take some responsibility for that as well, putting him on the top line right away in the hopes he would come back from his injury playing at the same level. It's not hard to see that he's not there yet, so we're making some adjustments. Once we see his level of play is back to where it was, we'll adjust again at that time." Galchenyuk has one goal and four shots since returning to the lineup after missing 18 games. "I played with [Andrighetto] last year down the stretch when [Brendan Gallagher] got injured," Galchenyuk said. "He's a skilled forward. He skates with the puck well and he sees the ice well, so hopefully we'll have that chemistry because we played pretty well last year."
Devils team scope
New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid could make his 12th start of the season and first in three games after starter Cory Schneider did not attend the optional morning skate because of an illness. He was in the starter's net, with goalie coach Chris Terreri taking Schneider's place. "You don't want to take a guy out of the lineup if he's ready to play, so that's why you wait," coach John Hynes said. "[Schneider] wasn't feeling well but it is a situation where if he's ready to play, then we'll play him." Kinkaid is 1-2-0 with a 3.60 GAA and .892 save percentage in three games against the Canadiens. The Devils would likely recall a backup goaltender from Albany of the American Hockey League if Schneider can't play. New Jersey has won three straight games and earned seven of a possible eight points during a four-game Western Conference road trip that concluded with a 4-3 win at the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. The Devils are three points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. "We want to continue to do what we've been doing," defenseman Damon Severson said. "We want to get opportunities off the rush; we need those goals to get leads and stay with leads because we're trying to pride ourselves on defense first. Then take care of the offense when the opportunities present themselves."
Canadiens projected lineup
Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Alexander Radulov
Artturi Lehkonen -- Tomas Plekanec -- Paul Byron
Sven Andrighetto -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Andrew Shaw
Jacob De La Rose -- Torrey Mitchell -- Brian Flynn
Alexei Emelin -- Shea Weber
Nathan Beaulieu -- Jeff Petry
Mark Barberio -- Zach Redmond
Scratched: Daniel Carr, Ryan Johnston
Injured: Brendan Gallagher (hand), Andrei Markov (groin), David Desharnais (knee), Greg Pateryn (ankle)
Devils projected lineup
Taylor Hall -- Adam Henrique -- PA Parenteau
Michael Cammalleri -- Travis Zajac -- Kyle Palmieri
Pavel Zacha -- Jacob Josefson -- Beau Bennett
Miles Wood - Blake Coleman -- Devante Smith-Pelly
Jon Merrill -- Ben Lovejoy
Kyle Quincey -- Damon Severson
Karl Stollery -- Steven Santini
Scratched: Luke Gazdic, Seth Helgeson, Sergey Kalinin
Injured: John Moore (concussion), Vernon Fiddler (lower body), Andy Greene (wrist), Yohann Auvitu (lower body)
Therrien will tweak his defense pairs by reuniting Beaulieu with Petry. Beaulieu played with Redmond and Petry with Barberio in a 4-1 home loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. "We tried to make an adjustment [Wednesday] and it didn't work like we were expecting with the new pairing," Therrien said. "But we can't forget, we've had success in the past when those guys played together as a team. We were hoping for the result [Wednesday] and we didn't get the result." Therrien said Markov, who has missed the past 15 games, is not making progress in his recovery. "I expected him to be close to coming back when he skated with us in Toronto [on Jan. 7], but there hasn't really been any improvement," Therrien said. ... Moore, who was placed on injured reserve Dec. 31 and has missed the past nine games with a concussion, skated on his own for a second straight day. Fiddler said he feels as though he is getting closer to returning.
Danault, who will play his 100th NHL game, has two goals and five points during a five-game point streak. Montoya has won his past three starts with a .906 save percentage. … Palmieri has two goals and five points in the past four games. Hall has two goals and two assists during a four-game point streak.