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

Montreal welcomes a few familiar faces for some Saturday night hockey.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

On June 29, 2016, the Montreal Canadiens shocked the hockey world when they shipped off all-star defenceman P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators in exchange for another all-star defenceman, Shea Weber.

Since the trade, the Predators have 73 wins in 135 regular-season games, whereas Montreal has 69 wins in 136. But last year, as the Habs bowed out in the first round against the New York Rangers, Nashville went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. They also became the first eighth-seeded team to reach the Final in the history of the game.

This season, the Predators (32-12-9) are tops in the Central Division, fourth in the NHL, and are poised to make another run for Lord Stanley’s Cup. The Canadiens (22-26-9) are in 14th place in the Eastern Conference, and are 10 points out of a playoff wild card spot.

This evening, for only the second time since the trade, number 76 will be playing in Montreal as the visitor. Although the former second-round pick of the Habs back in 2007 is with Nashville now, he always relishes coming back.

In his first meeting back last season, he assisted on his team’s only goal, but it was Montreal that came out ahead when forward Paul Byron scored his 15th goal of the season on a breakaway goal past Finnish all-star goaltender Pekka Rinne with just under nine ticks left in the game.

Montreal had won two in a row last weekend, beating the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators in back-to-back games, and outscoring them 9-3 in the process, before entering Philadelphia on Thursday evening and getting ousted by the Flyers 5-3.

Carey Price, who has started 39 of his team’s 54 games, was on the hook for the loss, allowing four goals on 27 shots. The all-star has been struggling this season, and his 15 wins are lowest in a season since he had 13 back in 2009-10 in 41 games.

The Canadiens are battling health issues with a lot of their crop finding themselves on the injured list. Phillip Danault, who was hit by a Zdeno Chara slap shot in the face back on January 13 has been battling concussion issues, Andrew Shaw is out with a lower-body injury for another few weeks, off-season acquisition Ales Hemsky only played seven games before getting a concussion in late October and has no clear timetable for his return

The man added in the Subban deal, Shea Weber, has been limited to only 26 of his team’s 53 games this season, and is currently out with a foot injury.

The Predators have only recorded one regulation loss in their last 14 games, going 9-1-4 in the span. They got an unusual boost to their team when Mike Fisher, who captained Nashville to the Final last spring, announced that he would return to the team after announcing his retirement last summer.

This game will be the second and final meeting between the two clubs this season. Nashville edged out Montreal 3-2 in a shootout back on November 22, when Kyle Turris got the shootout winner. It was also Antti Niemi’s first game as a Hab, and he made 31 saves in the loss.

Puck drop is at 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST

How to watch

In Canada: Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet Now, CityTV (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the US: NHLN-US
In the Predators region: FS-TN
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL GameCentre Live, NHL Center Ice

Montreal Canadiens projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Max Pacioretty Paul Byron Charles Hudon
Artturi Lehkonen Tomas Plekanec Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk Jonathan Drouin Nikita Scherbak
Nicolas Deslauriers Byron Froese Logan Shaw

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Karl Alzner Jeff Petry
Joe Morrow Jordie Benn
Victor Mete David Schlemko

Goaltenders

Goaltenders
Goaltenders
Carey Price
Antti Niemi

Nashville Predators projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Filip Forsberg Ryan Johansen Viktor Arvidsson
Kevin Fiala Kyle Turris Craig Smith
Scott Hartnell Nick Bonino Calle Jarnkrok
Miikka Salomaki Colton Sissons Austin Watson

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Roman Josi Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin Yannick Weber

Goaltenders

Goaltenders
Goaltenders
Pekka Rinne
Juuse Saros