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

Montreal heads to Vegas hoping for a change in fortunes.

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens’ losing streak hit four games on Thursday night following their 5-2 loss to the bottom-feeding Arizona Coyotes. This evening the team makes its way to Las Vegas for first time ever, as they will face off against the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.

The Canadiens (22-28-7) started their four-game road trip this past Wednesday in Colorado and were shut out for the eighth time this season by a 2-0 score against the Avalanche. The next night, their comeback was cut short as costly penalties by captain Max Pacioretty, and a career-high four-point night for Coyotes rookie Clayton Keller saw Arizona win 5-2. Brendan Gallagher scored his team-leading 21st goal of the season in the loss, while Daniel Carr potted his fourth of the campaign.

Currently sitting at 51 points, the Habs are 13 points behind the final wild-card spot, currently held by the New York Islanders.

With the trade deadline approaching on February 26, a few of the Habs veterans are finding their names at the centre of rumours, with players like Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, Alex Galchenyuk, just to name a few, mentioned as potential assets.

The story is the complete opposite for the Vegas Golden Knights (38-15-4), who in their inaugural season, find themselves alone atop the Western Conference with 80 points. When the team had announced its roster in the summertime, not many would have guessed such a storybook tale for the franchise.

The Knights have won three of their past four games, and have won 21 out of 27 games in Nevada this season. Their 21 wins are tied for second with only the Pittsburgh Penguins and Winnipeg Jets ahead.

Led by a trio of Quebecers in forwards Jonathan Marchessault (Cap-Rouge) with 55 points, David Perron (Sherbrooke) with 53, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (Sorel) with an 18-6-2 record, these three and the rest of the team aren’t to be taken lightly.

In their last game, they jumped to a 4-0 lead over the Edmonton Oilers, with Marchessault’s 21st being the game-winning goal. The undrafted centre has already attained a career high in points, and is just nine away from equaling his best goal total, which came last season when he notched 30 for the Florida Panthers.

Vegas also got a goal from William Karlsson, who scored his team-leading 30th, and the 100th point in his NHL career. The Swedish centre has already matched his point production from his previous 183 games (with Columbus and Anaheim) in just 57 so far this season. He’s also on a six-game point streak.

For goaltender Fleury, his career has been revitalized since coming to Vegas. After losing out on the starting goaltender role to Matt Murray in Pittsburgh last season, his confidence is at an all-time high. He was mere minutes away from his third shutout of the season when Oilers’ forward Leon Draisaitl beat him with 7:29 left on the clock.

The meeting tonight will be the second and final meeting between the two clubs. Montreal won the other contest by a 3-2 score back on November 7 at the Bell Centre. Pacioretty’s sixth goal of the season three minutes into the second was the eventual game-winner, and Charlie Lindgren made 29 saves for the win. Gallagher and defenceman Jordie Benn got the other goals.

The big question is if the Habs can snap out of their funk and get back in the win column. Only time will tell.

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

How to watch

In Canada: SN360, CITY (English), TVAS (French)
In the Golden Knights region: ATTSN-RM
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 Charles Hudon Artturi Lehkonen
Paul Byron Tomas Plekanec Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk Jonathan Drouin Nikita Scherbak
Daniel Carr Jacob de la Rose 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
Antti Niemi
Carey Price

Vegas Golden Knights projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Reilly Smith William Karlsson Jonathan Marschessault
David Perron Erik Haula James Neal
Oscar Lindberg Cody Eakin Alex Tuch
Tomas Nosek Pierre-Edouard Bellemare Ryan Carpenter

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Brayden McNabb Nate Schmidt
Deryk Engelland Shea Theodore
Colin Miller Brad Hunt

Goaltenders

Goaltenders
Goaltenders
Marc-Andre Fleury
Maxime Lagace