Canadiens at Lightning preview
Gallagher game-time decision for Montreal; Tampa Bay seeks second win in seven gamesby Corey Long / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
CANADIENS (31-28-9) at LIGHTNING (41-20-5)
7 p.m. ET; SUN, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV
The slumping Tampa Bay Lightning will try to end a five-game homestand with a victory when they host the Montreal Canadiens at Amalie Arena on Thursday.
The Lightning are 1-5-0 in their past six games and 1-3-0 on the homestand. They are coming off a 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins, who lead them by nine points for first place in the Atlantic Division. Tampa Bay is nine points ahead of the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Canadiens, 4-1-1 in their past six games, may be without forward Brendan Gallagher, their fourth-leading scorer with 43 points (22 goals, 21 assists). Gallagher, who has flu-like symptoms, missed the morning skate and will be a game-time decision.
Montreal trails the New York Islanders by seven points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
Players to Watch
Canadiens forward Phillip Danault has one goal and five assists during a four-game point streak
Lightning forward Brayden Point has 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in his past 16 games.
They said it
"All these games are huge for us. But we can't really think about too much right now or look too far ahead. We just have to focus on Tampa and the game tonight and deal with what's in the present." -- Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen
"At this point in the season we just have to establish our identity for an entire game. You lose a couple games it causes you to maybe take a step back and wonder what you might be doing wrong. We need to focus on the stretches we are playing well and make them longer stretches." -- Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk
Canadiens projected lineup
Artturi Lehkonen -- Phillip Danault -- Brendan Gallagher
Charles Hudon -- Nick Suzuki -- Joel Armia
Paul Byron -- Max Domi -- Jordan Weal
Lukas Vejdemo -- Jake Evans -- Dale Weise
Ben Chiarot -- Shea Weber
Brett Kulak -- Jeff Petry
Xavier Ouellet -- Christian Folin
Scratched: Karl Alzner
Injured: Jonathan Drouin (ankle) Tomas Tatar (upper body)
Lightning projected lineup
Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Nikita Kucherov
Blake Coleman -- Anthony Cirelli -- Alex Killorn
Barclay Goodrow -- Tyler Johnson -- Yanni Gourde
Pat Maroon -- Cedric Paquette -- Mitchell Stephens
Victor Hedman -- Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev -- Kevin Shattenkirk
Braydon Coburn -- Zach Bogosian
Scratched: Carter Verhaeghe, Luke Schenn
Injured: Steven Stamkos (core muscle surgery), Ryan McDonagh (lower body) Jan Rutta (lower body)
Alzner, a defenseman, took line rushes on left wing during the morning in Gallagher's absence. … Coach Claude Julien said Tatar, a forward who leads the Canadiens in scoring with 61 points (22 goals, 39 assists) is returning to Montreal for further evaluation. He was injured in a 6-2 win at the Islanders on Tuesday. …Lightning defensemen McDonagh and Rutta practiced Wednesday, and each wore a regular jersey while taking part in the optional morning skate on Thursday.
Gallagher has two goals and three assists during a three-game point streak. … Vasilevskiy is 10-1-2 with a .934 save percentage and 2.13 goals-against average against Montreal. …Shattenkirk needs one assist for 300 in the NHL.