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Devils at Canadiens preview

Niemi starts for suspended Price for Montreal; Zajac out for New Jersey

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

DEVILS (19-24-7) at CANADIENS (28-18-5)

2 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, MSG+, NHL.TV


The Game

The Montreal Canadiens will try for their sixth win in seven games when they play the New Jersey Devils at Bell Centre on Saturday.

Goalie Antti Niemi will start for Montreal in place of Carey Price, who will serve a one-game suspension for not taking part in the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend. 

The Canadiens are 5-1-0 and have allowed two goals or less in five of their past six games.

New Jersey will be without forward Travis Zajac, who sustained an undisclosed injury during a 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday.

The Devils are 3-7-0 in their past 10 games and have allowed at least four goals in six of their past nine games.


Players to watch

Devils forward Blake Coleman has nine points (six goals, three assists) in his past nine games.

Canadiens forward Tomas Tatar has five points (two goals, three assists) during a four-game point streak.


They said it

"When you're in your own zone they pressure the puck, they hunt the puck. It's difficult to get up and get going so it's important that you execute on your breakouts." -- Devils coach John Hynes


"What changes is that in the last 31 games a lot of teams are fighting for a place in the [Stanley Cup Playoffs] so you have to realize that the level of play is going to get higher than ever, and we have to be ready for that." -- Canadiens coach Claude Julien


Devils projected lineup

Marcus Johansson -- Nico Hischier -- Kyle Palmieri

Miles Wood -- Blake Coleman -- Jesper Bratt

Brett Seney -- Pavel Zacha -- Kurtis Gabriel

Brian Boyle -- Kevin Rooney -- Drew Stafford

Andy Greene -- Damon Severson

Will Butcher -- Mirco Mueller

Egor Yakovlev -- Steven Santini

Mackenzie Blackwood

Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: Eric Gryba

Injured: Travis Zajac (undisclosed), Taylor Hall (lower body), Sami Vatanen (concussion), Joey Anderson (ankle), Stefan Noesen (lower body), Ben Lovejoy (upper body), Cory Schneider (abdominal strain)


Canadiens projected lineup

Jonathan Drouin -- Phillip Danault -- Brendan Gallagher

Tomas Tatar -- Max Domi -- Paul Byron

Artturi Lehkonen -- Jesperi Kotkaniemi -- Joel Armia

Kenny Agostino -- Michael Chaput -- Nicolas Deslauriers

Victor Mete -- Shea Weber

Mike Reilly -- Jeff Petry

Brett Kulak -- Jordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Michael McNiven

Scratched: Matthew Peca, Charles Hudon

Suspended: Carey Price

Injured: Andrew Shaw (neck)


Status report

Anderson and Noesen practiced Friday, though Hynes said neither would make the trip. "They'll skate again [Saturday] and then probably be at the team practice on Monday," Hynes said. … Byron returns after serving a three-game suspension for a hit on Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar. … Shaw practiced for a second straight day and took contact for the first time Friday. He will not play this weekend but may return against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.


Stat pack

Johansson has four points (two goals, two assists) during a three-game point streak. … Domi has five points (two goals, three assists) in the past five games.

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