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Lightning at Canadiens preview

Tampa Bay chasing wins record; Montreal looks to make move in East wild-card race

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

LIGHTNING (60-15-4) at CANADIENS (42-29-8)

7:30 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, SUN, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to become the second team in NHL history to win 61 games in a season when they play the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Monday.

The Lightning, who have clinched the Presidents' Trophy, are two victories from the NHL record for most wins in a season, set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings, who won 62 games.

Tampa Bay became the third team to win 60 games with a 5-2 win at the Ottawa Senators on Monday. The 1976-77 Canadiens also had 60 wins.

The Canadiens, who are 5-1-1 in their past seven games, will try to gain in the wild-card race into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. 

Montreal is one point behind the Carolina Hurricanes, who hold the second wild card from the East and play at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, and two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets, who hold the first wild card and play the Boston Bruins.

 

Players to watch

Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov had three assists Monday and leads the NHL with 125 points (39 goals, 86 assists) in 79 games. He is two points from tying the single-season record for points by a Russia-born player set by Alexander Mogilny, who had 127 points (76 goals, 51 assists) in 77 games for the Buffalo Sabres in 1992-93.

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is 6-3-1 with a 1.91 goals-against average, .936 save percentage and one shutout in his past 10 starts.

 

They said it

"We've kind of been looking at the playoffs here for a while and they keep bringing it. I'm really proud of the guys." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper

"We're going to try get our fans into it early and get the place roaring." -- Canadiens defenseman Jordie Benn

 

Lightning projected lineup

Yanni Gourde -- Brayden Point -- Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat -- Steven Stamkos -- Mathieu Joseph

Tyler Johnson -- Anthony Cirelli -- Alex Killorn

J.T. Miller -- Cedric Paquette -- Adam Erne

Braydon Coburn -- Mikhail Sergachev

Ryan McDonagh -- Erik Cernak

Cameron Gaunce -- Jan Rutta

Edward Pasquale

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Ryan Callahan, Danick Martel

Injured: Dan Girardi (lower body), Victor Hedman (upper body), Anton Stralman (lower body), Louis Domingue (lower body)

 

Canadiens projected lineup

Tomas Tatar -- Phillip Danault -- Brendan Gallagher

Artturi Lehkonen -- Max Domi -- Andrew Shaw

Jonathan Drouin -- Jordan Weal -- Joel Armia

Jesperi Kotkaniemi -- Nate Thompson -- Paul Byron

Victor Mete -- Shea Weber

Brett Kulak -- Jeff Petry

Jordie Benn -- Christian Folin

Carey Price

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Nicolas Deslauriers, Charles Hudon, Matthew Peca, Ryan Poehling, Dale Weise, Mike Reilly, Charlie Lindgren

Injured: None

 

Status report

The Lightning did not hold a morning skate, though Vasilevskiy, Pasquale, Callahan, Martel and Gaunce skated at Bell Centre. … Byron returns after missing the past two games because of an upper-body injury. … Kotkaniemi moves to left wing from center after he was scratched Saturday. … Poehling took part in Montreal's optional morning skate.

 

Stat pack

Stamkos has 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in the past seven games. … Domi (three goals, five assists) and Shaw (one goal, seven assists) each has eight points in the past seven games. 

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