Preview: Canadiens @ Panthers, 12/29/15

Game #37
 Montreal Canadiens (21-14-3 / 45 PTS) @ Florida Panthers (20-12-4 / 44 PTS)
Tuesday, December 29th, 2015 – 7:30 PM EST
BB&T Center – Sunrise, FL

Projected Line Combinations

Florida_Panthers.svg
11 Huberdeau – 16 Barkov – 68 Jagr L1 67 Pacioretty – 51 Desharnais – 22 Weise
36 Jokinen – 21 Trocheck – 18 Smith L2 81 Eller – 27 Galchenyuk – 42 Andrighetto
73 Pirri – 17 MacKenzie – 48 Shaw L3 15 Fleischmann – 41 Plekanec – 43 Carr
42 Howden – 53 Knight – 86 Brickley L4 41 Byron – 17 Mitchell – 32 Flynn
5Campbell – 44 Gudbranson D1 28 Beaulieu – 76 Subban
33 Mitchell – 6 Petrovic D2 79 Markov – 26 Petry
Kulikov – Ekblad D3 45 Barberio – 6 Pateryn
1 Luongo – 35 Montoya G 40 Scrivens – 39 Condon
Thornton X Emelin, Smith-Pelly, Tinordi
Bjugstad, Savard, Hodges INJ Gilbert, Price, Gallagher

Top 5 Scorers

Florida Panthers

Player Goals Assists Points
1. Jaromir Jagr 10 15 25
2. Jussi Jokinen 7 16 23
3. Jonathan Huberdeau 4 19 23
4. Vincent Trocheck 10 11 21
5. Reilly Smith 11 9 20

Montreal Canadiens

Player Goals Assists Points
1. Max Pacioretty 14 14 28
2. Tomas Plekanec 8 20 28
3. Alex Galchenyuk 9 16 25
4. P.K. Subban 1 24 25
5. Andrei Markov 2 19 21

Expected Starting Goaltenders

Florida Panthers

Name Record Save % GAA
Roberto Luongo 15-11-3 .924 2.20

Montreal Canadiens

Name Record (AHL) Save % (AHL) GAA (AHL)
Ben Scrivens 2-6-1 .893 3.47

Between the Lines

The Panthers and Canadiens will battle for the first time this season on Tuesday. Florida enters riding a 6-game winning streak which is the longest win streak since they won 7 straight back in 2008, and Montreal just snapped their 6-game losing streak with a 4-3 shootout win against Tampa Bay on Monday night. The Panthers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night 3-2 with Aleksander Barkov tallying 2 goals and Aaron Ekblad recording his 9th of the year. The first period was dominated by Florida as they put up 19 shots and 2 goals while allowing just one shot the other way, and that set them up for a victory despite the strong push back by Columbus in the periods that followed. The Panthers have won 12 of their past 15 games and 7 of their last 10 while the Canadiens have struggled since November. Although the Panthers held the top spot in the Atlantic Division with their win over the Blue Jackets, the Canadiens now sit in first with a one point advantage (in two more games played) over the Panthers.

The Canadiens acquired goaltender Ben Scrivens from the Oilers in exchange for Zach Kassian, so he is expected to start on Tuesday. Mike Condon, the Montreal starting goalie with Carey Price injured, started the first game on their back-to-back while Dustin Tokarski was sent down to the AHL on Monday.

Nick Bjugstad, who has been missed every December game thus far with migraines, is getting very close to returning to the lineup after participating fully in practice on Monday, albeit in an orange no-contact jersey. Head coach Gerard Gallant said that Bjugstad wouldn’t be back against Montreal on Tuesday, but that he’s close and could return this weekend against either the Rangers on 1/2 or the Wild on 1/3. We previously reported that Bjugstad was likely to return either Tuesday or Saturday, January 2nd, barring any setbacks of course. Information surround Steven Kampfer, who suffered a knee injury on December 10th, is getting better but Gallant says it’s still bothering him. We reported recently that Kampfer was having difficulties bending his knee, although it’s highly likely that he’s recovered significantly since then.

Last Game Played

The Panthers faced the Blue Jackets on Sunday for their 36th game of the season and won 3-2. You can find our recap by clicking here, and the NHL recap can be found below:

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