Habs aim for third straight against battered Bolts
Published Friday, January 31, 2014 4:48PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 31, 2014 6:59PM EST
The streaky Habs (29-20-5) hope to capitalize on some opposition goaltender woes and perhaps some parental motivation to come to within two points of the Tampa Bay Lightning(31-18-5), in 1 p.m. tilt at the Bell Centre Saturday.
Bolts’ goaltender Ben Bishop was a late call to start after being after being hit in the head with a skate early in the first period in a 5-3 loss in Ottawa Thursday.
His replacement Anders Lindback later hurt his ankle after getting tangled with Cory Conacher. Lindback finished the game but is doubtful for Saturday, according to Lightning coach Jon Cooper.
Meanwhile Habs' prospect Christian Thomas, who had 14 points in 23 games for Hamilton, will lace up against for his first-ever game as a Montreal Canadien, as he replaces Michael Bournival who is out with flu-like symptoms.
Thomas was acquired from the Rangers' organization in an exchange for prospect Danny Kristo in the off-season. He will face the team which employs his father Steve Thomas, a swift-skating longtime NHL scorer, who is now an assistant coach for the Lightning.
Former Canadiens’ prospect Cedric Desjardins was called up for the game from the team's AHL affiliate in Syracuse and will back up Bishop, who has sparkled with a .932 save percentage this season, third best in the NHL.
Centre Valtteri Filppula – who has 40 points in 54 games - is also doubtful after suffering a lower body injury in the same Ottawa loss, the team's second straight.
Steve Stamkos will not play, as he’s still recuperating from a broken leg.
On the Canadiens' side of the injury ledger, Brandon Prust was questionable for the afternoon game, the first of a pair during this Super Bowl weekend, as he missed practice Friday due to flu-like symptoms. Prust was, however, cleared to play early Saturday.
Ryan White practiced for the first time Friday since suffering a shoulder injury that has kept him out since January 2.
The Canadiens are coming off a 4-1 victory in Boston, their second straight victory after losing four in a row.
Montreal and Tampa have played twice already this season, with both teams winning once in overtime by a score of 2-1.