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Canadiens vs. Sharks: Game thread, rosters, lines, and how to watch

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Will a return home be enough for the Habs to snap their losing streak?

Montreal Canadiens v San Jose Sharks

The Montreal Canadiens have scored three goals in their last four games, and Nicolas Deslauriers will be rewarded the Molson Cup for December. Let's just say that things are not going well for the Habs.

That’s good for a player who started the year in the AHL and has been putting in the work in the NHL, but a fourth-liner being the team's best overall performer for a stretch of a dozen games adds another depressing note to what was an already bleak period for Montreal.

The Sharks have won three out of their last four games. However, they were dominated heavily by the Dallas Stars on New Year's Eve, losing that game 6-0 on the road. We can expect them to come out of the gate strongly looking to erase their previous lacklustre performance from everyone's mind.

It's an extremely close race to the post-season in the Pacific Sivision. The Sharks are in a playoff spot right now, but are tied with the Ducks and only two points ahead of Calgary. A lot of teams could heat up and make a push, dislodging the Sharks from their precarious position. Dropping a game to a team in a weak state like Montreal would be a big setback for San Jose.

It will not be an easy challenge for the Habs, especially with their poor record against Western teams. But one thing that could play in their favour is that the Sharks share a problem with Montreal: putting the puck in the net. Losing Patrick Marleau, who is having a good year in Toronto, didn't help their offence.

While the Habs are only ahead of Buffalo and Arizona in 29th position with 2.54 goals per game, San Jose are 26th with 2.67. It's likely the game will be a low-scoring affair that could be decided by Carey Price's play; one of the only bright spots in the last month.

It's looking unlikely, but if — and it’s probably a fool's hope at this point — the Habs' few offensive cannons get a solid productive night, it could be a fresh start for the group at the dawn of 2018.

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

How to watch

In the Canadiens region: TSN2, TSN GO (English), RDS (French)
In the Sharks region: NBCSCA
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL GameCentre Live, NHL Center Ice

Montreal Canadiens projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Alex Galchenyuk Jonathan Drouin Artturi Lehkonen
Max Pacioretty Philip Danault Charles Hudon
Paul Byron Tomas Plekanec Brendan Gallagher
Nicolas Deslauriers Andrew Shaw Daniel Carr

Defence

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Jordie Benn Jeff Petry
Karl Alzner David Schlemko
Joe Morrow Jakub Jerabek

Goaltenders

Goaltenders
Goaltenders
Carey Price
Antti Niemi

Scratched: Jacob de la Rose, Byron Froese, Brett Lernout
Injured: Shea Weber (foot), Ales Hemsky (concussion), Al Montoya (concussion)

San Jose Sharks projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Timo Meier Joe Thorton Joe Pavelski
Tomas Hertl Logan Couture Joonas Donskoi
Mikkel Boedker Chris Tuerney Kevin Labanc
Marcus Sorensen Joel Ward Melker Karlsson

Defence

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Brenden Dillon Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic Justin Braun
Dylan Demelo Joakim Ryan

Goaltenders

Goaltenders
Goaltenders
Aaron Dell
Martin Jones