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Canadiens vs. Lightning: game thread, roster, lines, and how to watch

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The Habs take on their struggling divisional rivals.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens will be beginning their usual post-Christmas Florida state road trip as they face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first time this season.

The Canadiens did not go into the break finishing as they would have hoped, having lost their last two games against the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets. They will look to turn things around as they face off against Tampa Bay, who have been performing under expectations as they currently sit outside a playoff spot.

Like the Habs, the Lightning have a plethora of injuries to key players. Ben Bishop, Ryan Callahan, Cedric Paquette and Steven Stamkos will all be out of the lineup. They did receive some good news, with Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov returning tonight, which will make the job for the Canadiens a little more difficult.

The Canadiens will still be without Andrei Markov, who did not join the team for the road trip. They do get Alexei Emelin back from paternal leave, who should be playing beside Shea Weber again. Nathan Beaulieu will rejoin Jeff Petry on the second defence pairing, the latter scoring five goals in his last seven games.

The Canadiens recalled defenceman Ryan Johnston to cover for Markov staying home. He will be ready to jump into the lineup if called upon. Expect Andrei Vasilevskiy to start, as he takes over the number one goaltender position in Tampa, especially with Bishop hurt. Carey Price will start in goal for Montreal.

How to watch

Puck drop: 7:30 PM EST / 4:30 PM PST

In Canada: SN360 & SN East (English), RDS (French)

In the United States: FOX Sports Sun

Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Gamecenter Live, NHL Center Ice

Projected Montréal Canadiens Lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Max Pacioretty Phillip Danault Alexander Radulov
Artturi Lehkonen Tomas Plekanec Paul Byron
Sven Andrighetto Torrey Mitchell Brian Flynn
Daniel Carr Michael McCarron Chris Terry

Defence

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Alexei Emelin Shea Weber
Nathan Beaulieu Jeff Petry
Mark Barberio Zach Redmond

Goaltenders

Goaltenders
Goaltenders
Carey Price
Al Montoya

Injured: Alex Galchenyuk (knee), David Desharnais (knee), Greg Pateryn (fractured ankle), Andrew Shaw (concussion), Andrei Markov (lower-body)

Projected Tampa Bay Lightning Lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Zach Parise Eric Staal Charlie Coyle
Jason Zucker Mikko Koivu Mikael Granlund
Nino Neiderreiter Erik Haula Jason Pominville
Chris Stewart Tyler Graovac Jordan Schroeder

Defence

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Ryan Suter Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin Christian Folin
Marco Scandella Matt Dumba

Goaltenders

Goaltenders
Goaltenders
Devan Dubnyk
Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Nikita Nesterov

Injured: Ryan Callahan (lower body), Cedric Paquette (lower body), Steven Stamkos (knee), Ben Bishop (lower body)