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Canadiens vs Blackhawks game thread & lineups

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Falling Habs and soaring Hawks collide in Chicago. Canadiens roll into Chicago 1-3-1 in their last five to face the Hawks who are 4-1 over the same stretch. Montreal shakes its lines up.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

I would like to start off by giving a big thank you to Matthew Macaskill for filling in on the second period thread for me during the Minnesota game.

Montreal heads into Chicago not in a dire state, but certainly not in an enviable state. The team has been losers in four of its last 5 games and there's a general sense that the lineup as currently deployed is not working. That's to say that Montreal might have the right pieces, but the combos they're sending over the boards don't seem to be getting the ideal results.

Chicago has three goalies all possessing sub 2.00 GAAs. Injured starter Corey Crawford is the 'worst' of the lot with an abysmal save percentage of .929. Chicago has outscored its opponents 78-49 in 25 games. This is a very very good team that the Canadiens face.

I keep predicting the bench for Bryan Allen and he keeps escaping. The Habs twitter account has both Weaver and Gilbert drawing in. Drayson Bowman was called up for the weekend while Bournival gets some time in Hamilton to get back on track after injury. Tangradi will draw in with Bowman sitting.

The big change involves the first, third, and fourth lines with Dale Weise bumping Parenteau from the top line with Pacioretty and Desharnais, Parenteau dropping down to the SEPtic line, and Prust playing alongside Malhotra and Tangradi on the fourth line. In many ways the bottom six improves, but I'm not entirely convinced this makes the top line better. What do you think? Are these the Habs lines you want to see against Chicago?

Puck drop is at 8:30 PM ET (10 PM in Newfoundland)

In Canada: Sportsnet-East
In Quebec: RDS
In the Blackhawks region: CSN-CH
Elsewhere: NHL Gamcenter Live or NHL Center Ice

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup
Left Wing
Center
Right Wing
Max Pacioretty David Desharnais Dale Weise
Alex Galchenyuk Tomas Plekanec Brendan Gallagher
Jiri Sekac Lars Eller P.A. Parenteau
Brandon Prust Manny Malhotra Eric Tangradi
Left Defense
Right Defense
Andrei Markov
P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin
Sergei Gonchar
Tom Gilbert
Mike Weaver
Goaltenders
Carey Price
Dustin Tokarski

Scratched: Bryan Allen, Drayson Bowman

As for the Chicago Blackhawks, here's how they're shaping up

Chicago Blackhawks Projected Lineup
Left Wing
Center
Right Wing
Brandon Saad
Jonathan Toews Marian Hossa
Kris Versteeg
Brad Richards Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell
Andrew Shaw
Dan Carcillo
Joakim Nordstrom
Marcus Kruger Ben Smith
Left Defense
Right Defense
Duncan Keith Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson Johnny Oduya
Michael Rozsival David Rundblad
Goaltenders
Antti Raanta
Scott Darling

Scratched: Jeremy Morin, Klas Dahlbeck

Injured: Patrick Sharp, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Corey Crawford

Check out the opposing side at Second City Hockey