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Canadiens vs Panthers game thread

Habs can't take Gallant and Panthers for granted anymore; streaking Panthers play host to Montreal

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers are coming into this game on a bit of a hot streak, they are undefeated in regulation in their last 7 games, and are winners of their last two at home against Pittsburgh and Detroit. The Panthers are certainly a much better team this season as coached by formers Habs assistant Gerard Gallant than they have been in the past. The Habs cannot afford to assume that the two points are theirs by divine right.

Montreal is expected to start the same lineup as they had in last night's 3-1 win in Carolina. Carey Price who has been as close as you can get to perfect in his last three starts could get the call again tonight. Tokarski participated in lightly attended (2 skaters) optional practice which could indicate that Price is playing, but Left Wing Lock is fairly certain Tokarski is starting. My money is on Price with Luongo starting opposite. Update: I am quite often wrong and I was in this case. Price rests, Dustin Tokarski starts. Manny Malhotra will sit and Bournival will take his place in the lineup. Does that mean a Bournival-Andrighetto-Weise line? I hope so!

The first year Luongo dressed for the Panthers (2000-01), Len Barrie was just a washed up player, not yet a washed up owner, Jaroslav Spacek was a teammate and was fresh faced at 26, Pavel Bure had 59 goals (the runner-up Panther had 14), Mike Sillinger was only on his 6th team, and the Panthers had just completed a draft in which the totality of their draft picks (8) would amount to just 19 games played, Montreal's picks from that year would play over 900 games in the NHL (and counting). Oh and I had survived Y2K and was just about to finish the last year of my undergrad.

This is my last regular game thread. Adios folks and good luck! Thanks to Andrew for taking a chance on me, Marc for being so patient and helpful, and all the rest of the EOTP gang for helping me along, fixing errors, teaching me so much, and just being grand. This was a great gig, but the demands of a full-time job and a book project call. I hope to still contribute when I can, focusing more on trivia and historical type pieces.

Puck drop is at 7:30 PM EST (9 PM in Newfoundland). You can watch:

In Canada (English): Sportsnet-East
In Canada (French): RDS
In the Panthers' Region: FS-Florida
Elsewhere: NHL Center Ice or NHL Gamecenter Live

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup
Left Wing
Right Wing
Max Pacioretty Alex Galchenyuk Brendan Gallagher
David Desharnais Tomas Plekanec PA Parenteau
Jiri Sekac Lars Eller Brandon Prust
Michael Bournival Sven Andrighetto Dale Weise
Left Defense
Right Defense
Andrei Markov P.K. Subban
Nathan Beaulieu Sergei Gonchar
Alexei Emelin Tom Gilbert
Dustin Tokarski
Carey Price

Scratched: Manny Malhotra, Mike Weaver, Bryan Allen

As for the Florida Panthers, here's how the cats will come together tonight:

Flordia Panthers Projected Lineup
Left Wing
Right Wing
Jonathan Huberdeau Nick Bjugstad Vincent Trocheck
Jussi Jokinen Dave Bolland Brad Boyes
Sean Bergenheim Aleksander Barkov Jimmy Hayes
Tomas Fleischmann Derek MacKenzie Scottie Upshall
Left Defense
Right Defense
Willie Mitchell Dmitry Kulikov
Brian Campbell Aaron Ekblad
Dylan Olsen Erik Gudbranson
Roberto Luongo
Al Montoya

Scratched: Brandon Pirri

Injuries: Tomas Kopecky (upper body), Shawn Thornton (lower body)

Check out the opposing side at Litter Box Cats