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Canadiens @ Lightning: Game thread, rosters, lines, and how to watch

Five rookie defencemen don the jersey tonight in Tampa.

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens @ Tampa Bay Lightning

How to watch

Start time: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In Canada: Sportsnet (English)
In the Canadiens region: RDS (French)
In the Lightning region: Bally Sports Sun X

The results may have gotten worse as the pre-Christmas road trip went on for the Montreal Canadiens, but the play on the ice got progressively better. They played their best game of the three on December 23 versus a good Dallas Stars team, just undone by a bad penalty kill.

It’s good that the Habs’ play is on the rise, because now they’re in Florida to take on the improving Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning just beat the Habs 5-1 less than two weeks ago, and the Canadiens don’t want that to happen again.

It may be tough to hold the Lightning’s deep forward lineup at bay because the Canadiens have dressed five rookie defencemen for tonight’s game, a group of players that has a combined 148 games of NHL experience; Joel Edmundson, the only veteran on the blue line, has nearly 300 more than that total on his own.

That young defence corps also includes three of the Canadiens’ top 10 scorers this season, led by Kaiden Guhle who ranks sixth on the roster. That’s probably says more about the quality of the forwards than the blue-liners, and somehow the players up front need to find a way to make more of a contribution to give Montreal a chance in this game.

Montreal Canadiens projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
#22 Cole Caufield #14 Nick Suzuki #40 Joel Armia
#68 Mike Hoffman #77 Kirby Dach #27 Jonathan Drouin
#20 Juraj Slafkovský #28 Christian Dvorak #17 Josh Anderson
#55 Michael Pezzetta #71 Jake Evans #90 Anthony Richard

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
#44 Joel Edmundson #21 Kaiden Guhle
#72 Arber Xhekaj #26 Johnny Kovacevic
$54 Jordan Harris #52 Justin Barron

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
#34 Jake Allen #35 Samuel Montembeault

Scratched: Evgenii Dadonov, Chris Wideman
Injured: Paul Byron, Brendan Gallagher, Mike Matheson, Sean Monahan, David Savard

Tampa Bay Lightning projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Brandon Hagel Brayden Point Nikita Kucherov
Ross Colton Nick Paul Steven Stamkos
Patrick Maroon Anthony Cirelli Alex Killorn
Vladislav Namestnikov Pierre-Edouard Bellmare Corey Perry

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Victor Hedman Zach Bogosian
Mikhail Sergachev Nicklaus Perbix
Ian Cole Erik Cernak

Defencemen

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
Andrei Vasilevskiy Brian Elliott