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Vanek to make Canadiens debut vs. Coyotes

by Brian Compton

CANADIENS (35-22-7) at COYOTES (28-23-11)


Last 10: Montreal 6-2-2; Phoenix 4-5-1

Season series: This is the second and final game between the Montreal Canadiens and Phoenix Coyotes this season. Montreal earned a 3-1 victory on Dec. 17 at Bell Centre.

Big story: Left wing Thomas Vanek, acquired from the New York Islanders moments before the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday, will make his Canadiens debut. Vanek has 21 goals and 32 assists in 60 games this season between the Islanders and Buffalo Sabres.

"You think about the hockey Mecca, and Montreal is it," Vanek said. "For me, playing so many years with Buffalo in that building in Montreal, it's just one of those buildings and cities that the fans are so electric. Now to be a part of it, I was just thrilled and super excited about it."

Team Scope:

Canadiens: It's the third of a four-game West Coast trip for Montreal, which earned a 4-3 shootout victory against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Wednesday.

Andrei Markov won it for the Canadiens when he scored in the sixth round of the shootout. Goaltender Dustin Tokarski made his first start in the NHL since March 19, 2012 and made 31 saves for the victory.

"It's a whirlwind," Tokarski said. "I tried to lay down for a couple of hours of sleep, but I was just thinking the whole afternoon. I didn't get much [sleep]. It was a great day."

Coyotes: Phoenix did not make any trades Wednesday, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. Nonetheless, Coyotes general manager Don Maloney was thrilled to see such commitment from ownership, which gave him the green light to improve the team.

"We were involved in some of the bigger deals, which involved significantly increasing our payroll, and I went to the ownership and they were all behind it and all for it," Maloney told the Coyotes website. "We got the approvals, we just couldn't finish the deals. For any Coyotes fan, it's an encouraging sign. The ownership was ready, willing and able to expand the budget if the deal made sense. That was encouraging."

Who's hot: Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty scored his 30th goal of the season Wednesday. He has four goals and two assists during his four-game point streak. Defenseman P.K. Subban has two goals and two assists over a three-game point streak. … Coyotes captain Shane Doan has two goals and an assist in the past three games.

Injury report: Goalie Carey Price (lower body) and forwards Michael Bournival (concussion) and Brandon Prust (upper body) are on injured reserve for Montreal. … Coyotes center Martin Hanzal is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

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