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Habs vs. Canucks: Preview and Game Thread

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The Vancouver Canucks (8-3-2) make their lone regular season visit to the Bell Centre to face the Montreal Canadiens (8-5-2) on Tuesday.

It will be the first of a pair of games this week that should really guage how the Canadiens measure up against a playoff contending team. They meet the Boston Bruins on Thursday.

In their two meetings last season the clubs each took a win at home. The Habs have a dominating 73-27-13-1 record over the Canucks in their 40-year history, but the current Canucks are by far more formidable than in yesteryear.

Vancouver is on a six game winning streak that has seen them find the back of the net 25 times. Less can be said for the Habs, with only six goals in their last four games (1-3-0).

Roberto Luongo will get the start in goal for the Canucks, and is a career 9-9-2 (with three ties), with a 2.43 GAA and .924 SvPct against Montreal.

The Canadiens will also have to endure four solid lines for 60 minutes. Henrik and Daniel Sedin lead the team in scoring with 16 points each, but third liner Raffi Torres is fresh off being named the NHL's First Star after a 6 point (5 G, 1A) run last week.

In the faceoff circle, three Canucks have over a 50% win ratio. Manny Malhotra leads the NHL's second overall faceoff squad with 64%. The Canadiens are 24th in the league at 48.6%

CANUCKS PROBABLE LINEUP

Forwards:

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alex Burrows

Mason Raymond - Ryan Kesler - Mikael Samuelsson

Raffi Torres - Manny Malhotra - Jannik Hansen

Tanner Glass - Rick Rypien - Peter Schaefer

Defense Pairings: Alexander Edler; Christian Ehrhoff, Andrew Alberts - Kevin Bieksa; Keith Ballard - Aaron Rome

Goaltenders: Roberto Luongo (5-3-2, 2.76 GAA .910 SvPct), Cory Schneider

Injuries: D Sami Salo (Achilles) injured reserve; D Dan Hamhuis (foot), probable; C Alex Bolduc (ankle), injured reserve; D Ryan Parent (groin), day-to-day; Guillaume Desbiens (broken hand), indefinitely.

Canadiens coach Jacques Martin continues to mix up his lines to get his offense going, and will split up the duo of Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez. The Canadiens captain will start Tuesday's game on the wing with Tomas Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri, while Gomez will center Maxim Lapierre and Andrei Kostitsyn.
Expect Martin to tinker with the defensive pairings, which have been unstable as of late, by the time the Tuesday morning skate is over as well.
Forward Dustin Boyd was put on waivers on Monday, and depending what happens, we could also see a last minute roster change before game time.
As the Habs embark to find their scoring touch, they will also want to play a disciplined game, and avoid the penalty box, as the Canucks lead the NHL with a 29.4% power play rating.
Carey Price will get the start in goal, but is a career 0-1 with a 7.00 GAA and .788 SvPct against he Canucks after a disastrous homecoming start last season in Vancouver.
CANADIENS PROBABLE LINEUP

Forwards:
Brian Gionta - Tomas Plekanec - Mike Cammalleri

Andrei Kostitsyn - Scott Gomez - Maxim Lapierre

Benoit Pouliot - Jeff Halpern - Mathieu Darche

Travis Moen - Lars Eller - Tom Pyatt
Defense Paiings: Andrei Markov - Josh Gorges; Jaroslav Spacek - Roman Hamrlik; Hal Gill - P.K. Subban
Goalies: Carey Price (7-5-1, 2.45 GAA, .911 SvPct), Alex Auld

Follow the thoughts of th Vancouver fans at Nucks Misconduct

Updates: Hamhuis is in for the Canucks tonight. Ballard will be a healthy scratch. Chris Lee is one of the referees...

A little "Did you know?" from Joe Pelletier

The Hamilton Bulldogs have upgraded their website. The team plays the Lake Erie Otters tomorrow at 10:45 AM!

PhD line to start vs Torres/Malhotra/Hansen

FINAL SCORE

CANADIENS 2 CANUCKS 0

FIRST PERIOD SCORING

1. MTL Andrei Markov - (Gionta, Plekanec) - 6:53

THIRD PERIOD SCORING

2. MTL Roman Hamrlik (PP) (Cammalleri, Spacek) 4:39

THREE STARS

1. CAREY PRICE - MTL 35 Save Shutout

2. ANDREI MARKOV - MTL 1 goal, +1

3. TOMAS PLEKANEC - MTL 1 assist, +1