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Canadiens vs. Rangers: Game Thread, roster, lines, and how to watch

The Eastern Conference's best go head to head at Madison Square Garden

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The NHL's two most valuable franchises face off tonight for their second contest of the year. Not only are these teams the most valuable in terms of dollar-value, but have proven to be the Eastern Conference's best teams to this point of the season, multiple wins up on the next closest teams chasing them in the standings.

Both teams have 34 points, although the Rangers have one less game played than the Canadiens. The Rangers have been on a dominant run for over a month, falling only once in regulation to an opponent over their last 16 games played (13-1-2) since their previous regulation loss at the hands of the Canadiens.

During the same period, the Canadiens have been on a run of 13-3-2, and despite the prime  NHL coverage indicating that the Rangers are far and above a better team than the Canadiens, both the Rangers and Habs have similarities in their makeup as well as their results that demonstrate just how closely competitive these teams are.

Brendan Gallagher's absence from the top line is a cause for concern, but also an opportunity for the Canadiens' depth to come to the table and show its worth. As well as being down Gallagher, Torrey Mitchell is still sidelined with a lower body injury. We will likely see a number of combinations being used tonight in Gallagher's absence, with Devante Smith-Pelly returning from injury and being slotted in the official spot on the Canadiens' lineup alongside Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty.

The puck drops at 7:00 PM EST.

How To Watch:
In Canada (French): RDS
In Canada (English): Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario
In the Rangers' region: MSG
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter, NHL Center Ice

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup
Left Wing
Right Wing
Max Pacioretty Tomas Plekanec Devante Smith-Pelly
Lars Eller Alex Galchenyuk Sven Andrighetto
Tomas Fleischmann David Desharnais Dale Weise
Paul Byron Brian Flynn Alexander Semin
Left Defense
Right Defense
Andrei Markov P.K. Subban
Nathan Beaulieu Jeff Petry
Tom Gilbert Alexei Emelin
Carey Price
Mike Condon

Scratched: Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi, Bud Holloway
Brendan Gallagher (broken fingers), Torrey Mitchell (lower body), Michael Bournival (post-concussion syndrome)

New York Rangers Projected Lineup
Left Wing
Right Wing
Rick Nash Derick Brassard Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider Derek Stepan Kevin Hayes
J.T. Miller Oscar Lindberg Jesper Fast
Dominc Moore Jarret Stoll Viktor Stalberg
Left Defense
Right Defense
Ryan McDonagh Dan Girardi
Marc Staal Kevin Klein
Keith Yandle Dan Boyle
Henrik Lundqvist
Antti Raanta

Scratched: Emerson Etem, Dylan McIlrath
Injuries: None

Check out the enemy over at Blueshirt Banter.