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Canadiens vs Panthers: Game Thread, Lines, & TV Schedule

Are the Habs going to stumble into the playoffs?

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Habs are coming off their 3rd loss in a row, albeit another shootout loss in which they collected a valuable point to stay tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for first in the Atlantic Division. Right now, the Canadiens are tied for 2nd in the Eastern Conference and could meet up with a variety of teams next week when the playoffs begin. The Habs have seemed to be coasting through this past stretch of games, having only won once in their last six, but with a  game in hand on the Lightning, they still have a chance to finish the season with the Atlantic Division title with a few strong outings to end their season.

The Florida Panthers almost rallied late in the season to make the leap into a playoff position. After beating the Ottawa Senators on the road last Sunday, the Panthers looked ready to make a furious run for the playoffs. Tuesday's loss against the Bruins all but knocked the wind out the Cats, who followed up the loss with a 6-1 win against the Hurricanes on Thursday, but with their competition putting up such a torrid pace for that final Wildcard spot, the Panthers had their hopes dashed last night by being trampled 4-0 by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Habs have been playing a little bit above their average possession numbers over the 3-game skid, only registering an average of 51 CF, while allowing 55 CA, with the CA numbers being skewed by a 35 CF performance against the Habs by the Devils on Friday night in a game where the Habs had 14:27 worth of powerplay time, but only converted for one powerplay goal.

The puck drops at 5:00PM EST. Andrei Markov will be back in the lineup tonight, alongside defense partner P.K. Subban. Coach, Michel Therrien has also decided to swap Manny Malholtra for Torrey Mitchell on fourth-line center duties. Dan Ellis will get the start over Roberto Luongo between the pipes for the Panthers.

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

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup
Left Wing
Right Wing
Max Pacioretty David Desharnais Devante Smith-Pelly
Alex Galchenyuk Tomas Plekanec Brendan Gallagher
Brandon Prust Lars Eller P.A. Parenteau
Jacob de la Rose Torrey Mitchell Dale Weise
Left Defense
Right Defense
Andrei Markov P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu Tom Gilbert
Carey Price
Dustin Tokarski

Scratched: Mike Weaver, Manny Malholtra, Brian Flynn, Sergei Gonchar

Florida Panthers Projected Lineup
Left Wing
Right Wing
Jonathan Huberdeau Aleksander Barkov Jaromir Jagr
Brandon Pirri Dave Bolland Brad Boyes
Jussi Jokinen Vincent Trocheck Jimmy Hayes
Tomas Kopecky Derek MacKenzie Scottie Upshall
Left Defense
Right Defense
Brian Campbell Aaron Ekblad
Willie Mitchell Erik Gudbranson
Dmitry Kulikov Alex Petrovic
Dan Ellis
Roberto Luongo

Scratched: Shawn ThorntonSteven Kampfer
Injuries: Al Montoya (groin)

Check out the enemy over at Litter Box Cats.