CANADIENS (25-31-11) at LIGHTNING (47-17-4)
1 p.m. ET; SUN, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV
Defenseman Ryan McDonagh will make his debut with the Tampa Bay Lightning when they try to win their fifth game in a row, hostingthe Montreal Canadiens at Amalie Arena on Saturday.
McDonagh, who has not played since Feb. 7 because of a hand injury, has missed six games since he was traded to the Lightning from the New York Rangers on Feb. 26.
Tampa Bay is 9-0-1 in its past 10 games and lead the Atlantic Division by six points over the Boston Bruins having played three more games. Nikita Kucherov leads the NHL with 87 points (33 goals, 54 assists), and Andrei Vasilevskiy on Thursday became the first NHL goalie to win 40 games this season, 5-3 against the Rangers.
The Canadiens are on a three-game losing streak and 3-6-5 in their past 13 games. Montreal, which lost 5-0 to the Florida Panthers on Thursday, has the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference, 15 points behind the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This is the final game between the teams this season. The Lightning won two of the first three.
Players to watch
Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher has five points (three goals, two assists) in the past five games..
Lightning forward Yanni Gourde has 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in the past 18 games.
They said it
"The expectation is to win and play well, and we've shown it before. We've played this team tight. We need to go out there and play a good, strong road game. Don't make mistakes and make them earn everything they are going to get." -- Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher
"We're looking for him to do all the same things he did in New York. It's playing 5-on-5 and penalty kill. Just do all the things he's done to make him the player he is today and not try to do too much. We're really excited to have him back." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper on defenseman Ryan McDonagh
Canadiens projected lineup
Paul Byron -- Jonathan Drouin -- Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk -- Jacob de la Rose -- Charles Hudon
Artturi Lehkonen -- Phillip Danault -- Andrew Shaw
Nicolas Deslauriers -- Byron Froese -- Daniel Carr
Mike Reilly -- Jeff Petry
Karl Alzner -- Noah Juulsen
Jordie Benn -- Brett Lernout
Scratched: Logan Shaw, Nikita Scherbak
Injured: Carey Price (concussion), Ales Hemsky (concussion), Max Pacioretty (lower body), Victor Mete (hand), David Schlemko (upper body), Rinat Valiev (undisclosed)
Lightning projected lineup
Steven Stamkos -- Tyler Johnson -- Nikita Kucherov
Yanni Gourde -- Brayden Point -- J.T. Miller
Alex Killorn -- Anthony Cirelli -- Adam Erne
Ryan Callahan -- Cedric Paquette -- Chris Kunitz
Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin
Ryan McDonagh -- Dan Girardi
Anton Stralman -- Mikhail Sergachev
Scratched: Andrej Sustr, Braydon Coburn, Cory Conacher, Slater Koekkoek
Injured: Ondrej Palat (lower body)
McDonagh was a full participant at practice Friday and could make his Lightning debut. ... Lernout was recalled from Laval of the American Hockey League after Valiev was injured Thursday. ... Hudon is expected to play after missing four games.
Niemi is 4-1-2 with a 2.21 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in his past eight starts. He was scratched Tuesday with a lower-body injury and was the backup Thursday. ... Stamkos has seven points (three goals, four assists) in the past four games.