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Canadiens vs. Lightning: Game thread, start time, lineups, Tale of the Tape, and how to watch

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It’s first versus one of the worst at Amalie Arena this afternoon.

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

In a season where the Montreal Canadiens haven’t found a lot of success, they have been able to keep the top team in the league honest. The team has taken the Tampa Bay Lightning to overtime in two of the three games they’ve played, winning one of them and earning three points in three games.

The Lightning have still had the better results in the season series, with a 2-0-1 record, but their league-leading offence that has scored an average of 3.6 goals per game has been held to just seven goals in 190 minutes of action.

Nikita Kucherov has still been a major force for his team in those games, factoring in on four of those goals. His lead at the head of the Art Ross race is being shortened by a charge from Evgeni Malkin, and he will want to have one of his best performances of the season to gain some breathing room.

How to watch

Puck drop: 1:00 PM EST / 10:00 AM PST
In Canada: TSN2, TSN GO (English), RDS (French)
In the Lightning region: SUN
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL GameCentre Live, NHL Center Ice

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistic Lightning
Canadiens Statistic Lightning
25-31-11 Record 47-17-4
1-1-1 H2H Record 2-0-1
51.1% Corsi-for pct. 51.4%
171 Goals for 250
211 Goals against 189
19.8% PP% 23.8%
76.3% PK% 77.7%

Should Kucherov be able to help his team earn a victory, it would get Tampa Bay to the 100-point mark on the season with 13 games still to play. Their cushion in their bid for a Pesidents’ Trophy would rise, at least temporarily, to nine points. A schedule to end the season played mostly at home would allow them to slide fairly comfortably into the playoffs holding home-ice advantage all the way through, starting each series in a bulding they’ve achieved a 24-6-2 record in so far this season.

To help them prevent the Lightning from reaching triple digits, the Habs may be getting a few of their top possession players back into the lineup, as Phillip Danault and Charles Hudon will both be game-time decisions. Danault was held out of the last game with neck soreness, as the team didn’t want to chance anything given his recent concussion issues. Hudon, who has been one the most involved players on the ice and perhaps the team’s best performer in puck battles this season, will be raring to go after having to sit out the last four games with a hand injury.

Danault’s return would at least give the team some semblance of centre depth, something that an already-depleted lineup lost with the trade of Tomas Plekanec. Fortunately, Jacob de la Rose has been able to step up to become a key player on that front, turning around what had appeared to be a listless finish to his uneventful Habs career into hope that he can be a part of the solution moving forward. A two-goal performance versus the New Jersey Devils two games ago was a good reward for some strong play from the young Swede as he begins to make his mark in the league.

How he fares versus the Lightning’s potent forward corps will be one of the main things to watch for today as the Habs try to finish the season series on a winning note. A 2-1-1 record versus the top team in the league would be a positive thing to look back on from a difficult season, and give them something to build upon as they go into next season determined to be much closer to their division leader.

Montreal Canadiens projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Paul Byron Jonathan Drouin Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk Jacob de la Rose Artturi Lehkonen
Daniel Carr Logan Shaw Kerby Rychel
Nicolas Deslauriers Michael McCarron Byron Froese

Defence

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Jordie Benn Jeff Petry
Karl Alzner Noah Juulsen
Mike Reilly Brett Lernout

Goaltenders

Goaltenders
Goaltenders
Carey Price
Antti Niemi

Tampa Bay Lightning projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Zach Hyman Auston Matthews William Nylander
Patrick Marleau Nazem Kadri Mitch Marner
James van Riemsdyk Tyler Bozak Connor Brown
Leo Komarov Tomas Plekanec Kasperi Kapanen

Defence

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Morgan Rielly Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott Roman Polak

Goaltenders

Goaltenders
Goaltenders
Frederik Andersen
Curtis McElhinney