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Preview: Lightning at Canadiens

Goaltender Carey Price to start for Montreal; Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper looking for 'good one tonight'

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

LIGHTNING (5-1-0) at CANADIENS (6-0-1)

7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, RDS, SN360, NHL.TV


Lightning team scope

The Tampa Bay Lightning have won each of their five games against Eastern Conference teams this season, including victories at the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs to begin a six-game road trip. Center Steven Stamkos' four points led Tampa Bay to a 7-3 win at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday, and the Lightning practiced at Bell Centre for a second straight day Thursday in preparation for an Atlantic Division showdown against the Montreal Canadiens. "They're going to be a team that's contending in the East all season long," Stamkos said. The return of goaltender Carey Price has been the biggest boost to Montreal's fortunes, according to Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper, even more significant than the addition of defenseman Shea Weber to the Canadiens lineup. But Cooper said each team countered the other's strengths with comparable talent, including Lightning goalie Ben Bishop and defenseman Victor Hedman, and Montreal left wing Max Pacioretty. "Both teams have a presence in the net and you work out from there," Cooper said. "They've got a Weber, and we have a Hedman. They've got a Pacioretty, we've got a Stamkos. You can go through the whole team, and both teams, I think, bring a lot to the table, and that's probably why they're both at the top of the standings and going to have a go at each for a good one tonight."


Canadiens team scope

Price will start for the Canadiens after coach Michel Therrien rested him Wednesday. Backup goalie Al Montoya improved to 3-0-1 in four starts for Montreal, which did not have a morning skate Thursday following its 3-2 win at the New York Islanders. The Canadiens, who have yet to lose in regulation, extended their winning streak to five. Price won three consecutive starts after missing the beginning of the season with the flu. He has a 1.68 goals-against-average and a .939 save percentage. Defenseman Shea Weber had a goal and an assist for a second straight game on Wednesday, and third time during his four-game points streak. Weber is the Canadiens leading scoring with nine points (three goals, six assists). His plus-12 rating leads the NHL and he is averaging 25:59 of ice time through seven games. "What I'm the most impressed about is his defensive game," Therrien said Wednesday. "Yes, he can shoot the puck and is good on the power play, but you look at his defensive game and he is a tough guy to play against. We like what we've seen from him since the beginning of the year."


Lightning projected lineup

Vladislav Namestnikov -- Steven Stamkos -- Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat -- Tyler Johnson -- Jonathan Drouin

Alex Killorn -- Valtteri Filppula -- Brayden Point

Cedric Paquette -- Brian Boyle -- J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman -- Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison -- Andrej Sustr

Nikita Nesterov -- Braydon Coburn

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Matt Taormina

Injured: Ryan Callahan (hip)


Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Brendan Gallagher

Artturi Lehkonen -- Tomas Plekanec -- Alexander Radulov

Paul Byron -- David Desharnais -- Andrew Shaw

Phillip Danault -- Torrey Mitchell -- Brian Flynn

Nathan Beaulieu -- Shea Weber

Andrei Markov -- Jeff Petry

Alexei Emelin -- Greg Pateryn

Carey Price

Al Montoya

Scratched: Mikhail Sergachev, Daniel Carr

Injured: Zach Redmond (broken foot)


Status report

Aside from Price, Therrien will use the same lineup as Wednesday, according to the Journal de Montreal. Sergachev will be a healthy scratch for a fourth straight game since playing three of the Canadiens' first four.


Who's hot

Killorn has scored a goal in consecutive games, and five of six. ... Namestnikov has a goal and an assist in each of his past two games. ... Weber has seven points (three goals, four assists) during his four-game points streak. ... Gallagher also has a four-game points streak (two goals, two assists). ... Byron and Danault each has scored in two of the past three games. 

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