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Preview: Canadiens at Maple Leafs

Struggling Montreal shuffles lineup; Tyler Bozak game-time decision for Toronto

by Dave McCarthy / Correspondent

CANADIENS (32-21-8) at MAPLE LEAFS (28-20-12)

7 p.m. ET; CBC, TVA Sports, CITY, NHL.TV


Canadiens team scope

Forwards David Desharnais and Sven Andrighetto are expected to return to the lineup for the Montreal Canadiens. Desharnais last played on Feb. 7 in a 4-0 loss at the Colorado Avalanche. He has been a healthy scratch for the past six games. "I'm pretty excited; it's pretty hard to be on the side and just to watch so hopefully I can make a difference here tonight," Desharnais said. Andrighetto has not played since a 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 11; he's been a healthy scratch for the past four games. "It's not about with two players, it's hope that our team can play better," coach Claude Julien said. "We're talking about inserting two new players, it's more about giving us a different look here. We haven't played well enough; some guys can step in and hopefully help our team be better." Defenseman Nikita Nesterov is also expected to player after being a healthy scratch for the past two games. The Canadiens have been shut out four times and have scored 10 goals in their past eight games. They lead the Ottawa Senators by two points for first place in the Atlantic Division and are four points ahead of the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs. "Every game means a lot especially with the way things have been going in our division and with our team," captain Max Pacioretty said. "Obviously, it's a Saturday night playing in Toronto, there are no issues trying to get up for this game." Goaltender Carey Price will make his fifth consecutive start. He is 1-3-0 and has allowed 10 goals in his past four games.


Maple Leafs team scope

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak was not at the morning skate and missed practice on Friday. Coach Mike Babcock said he would be a game-time decision. If Bozak can't play, Ben Smith, who has been a healthy scratch the past two games, will play. The Maple Leafs are trying to avoid being swept by the Canadiens this season; Montreal won 2-1 on Oct. 29, 2-1 on Nov. 19, and 5-3 on Jan. 7. The Maple Leafs are third in the division, four points behind the first-place Canadiens with one game in hand. "It's a good feeling," defenseman Morgan Rielly said. "This is the most important game between these two teams since I've been here. There's lots of history here but since I've been in Toronto, there's a lot on the line tonight, it's a big game, it's important in the standings and both teams need wins." Goaltender Frederik Andersen will make his third consecutive start. After losing 2-1 in a shootout on Thursday against Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers, Andersen is looking forward to going up against another top goalie in Price. "It's going to be a goalie battle usually when you play those kinds of goalies," Andersen said. "It's a fun challenge." Toronto is 2-0-1 in its past three games.


Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Alexander Radulov

Artturi Lehkonen -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Brendan Gallagher

Paul Byron -- Tomas Plekanec -- Andrew Shaw

Sven Andrighetto -- David Desharnais -- Torrey Mitchell

Alexei Emelin -- Shea Weber

Andrei Markov -- Jeff Petry

Nathan Beaulieu -- Nikita Nesterov

Carey Price

Al Montoya

Scratched: Brian Flynn, Michael McCarron, Greg Pateryn

Injured: None


Maple Leafs projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk -- Ben Smith -- Connor Brown

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- Josh Leivo

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Matt Martin -- Frederik Gauthier -- Nikita Soshnikov

Morgan Rielly -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner -- Alexey Marchenko

Matt Hunwick -- Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Martin Marincin

Injured: Mitchell Marner (upper body), Connor Carrick (upper body), Tyler Bozak (undisclosed)


Status report

Marner skated with his teammates Saturday morning but wore a non-contact jersey and will miss his fifth consecutive game. He skated on his own Friday.... Carrick was absent from practice Friday and didn't take part in the morning skate.

Who's hot

Pacioretty has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past six games. ... Brown has three goals in his past three games. ... Gardiner has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past three games. ... Kadri has seven points (five goals, two assists) in his past six games. ... Matthews has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past four games.

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