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Game Thread: Habs Take On Surging Blackhawks

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It was bad enough the Montreal Canadiens had to face, and fall flat against, the Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins on Monday. Things don't get any better for them tonight, as they visit the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Canadiens, so far this season, have yet to lay claim to a 15-goal scorer. The Blackhawks have three, as well as four players over 30 points. Tomas Plekanec is the closest the Habs have right now at 26 points, while Cole is the closest to the 15 goal mark with 13.

Peter Budaj gets the call in goal for the Canadiens, and is 4-4-1 (2.99, .900) against the Blackhawks in his career. It's a bit of a surprise move considering Carey Price is 2-1 (1.66, .954) against Chicago. Budaj's last appearance against Chicago came last season (while with the Colorado Avalanche), a 4-0 loss.

Corey Crawford has been less than spectacular this season for the Blackhawks, and makes his second career start against the Habs. His first appearance was a 2-1 overtime loss on April 5 at the Bell Centre. Ray Emery had made the last six starts for Chicago, winning five straight until the Penguins snapped that streak last night.

Daniel Carcillo (head injury) missed Wednesday's game against Pittsburgh, and is out tonight.

Interesting Stat: Via Heather Engels on Twitter; The Habs are 3-2 in the opening half of back-to-back games this season. The Blackhawks are 5-1-1 on the back end.

MONTREAL CANADIENS PROJECTED LINEUP

Forwards

Mike Cammalleri - Tomas Plekanec - Travis Moen

Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Erik Cole

Andrei Kostitsyn - Lars Eller - Louis Leblanc

Mathieu Darche - Petteri Nokelainen - Mike Blunden

Defensemen

Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban

Tomas Kaberle - Chris Campoli

Hal Gill - Raphael Diaz

Goalies

Peter Budaj - Carey Price

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CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS PROJECTED LINEUP

Forwards

Viktor Stalberg - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane

Patrick Sharp - Marcus Kruger - Marian Hossa

Andrew Brunette - Dave Bolland - Michael Frolik

Bryan Bickell - Jamal Mayers - Brandon Pirri

Defensemen

Duncan Keith - Nick Leddy

Niklas Hjalmarsson - Brent Seabrook

Steve Montador - Sean O'Donnell

Goalies

Corey Crawford - Ray Emery

Canadiens vs Blackhawks preview

Canadiens vs Blackhawks coverage

View from the other side at Second City Hockey