Plekanec Still Out With Flu, O’Byrne Back In, Brisebois Out

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    TSN:
    Mike Komisarek has been announced as the Canadiens Masterton Trophy candidate. He leads the league in blocked shots and is second in hits.

    Alex Kovalev reached the 30-goal mark for the first time since 2001-02, when he scored 32 with the Penguins.

    The Canadiens have the best goal differential in the East (+26). They are tied with Ottawa as the highest scoring teams in the league (223). Over their Western road swing last week, they were outshot in all four games by a total count of 152-95. They have been outshot a season high five straight games for the third time (their records over those spans were 3-2, 3-1-1, 1-3-1).

    The Canadiens can take over first in the East again with a regulation win. NJ has a game in hand and has 2 more wins in the all important second tie-breaker.

    The last time they faced the Devils 10 days ago, first place in the East was on the line. Price and the Canadiens outlasted Martin Brodeur’s Devils in a 2-1 win at the Bell Centre. Since losing to Montreal 10 days ago, Brodeur has gone 3-0, 0.98 GAA, .972 SVP (104-107). Included in that stretch are two games in which he faced over 40 shots, the only times the Devils have allowed that many this season. Those performances earned him NHL Second Star of the Week. Brodeur will be making his 29th straight start.

    Canadiens Lineup for tonight’s tilt against the Devil:

    Forwards:
    A. Kostitsyn – Grabovski – Kovalev
    Higgins – Koivu – S. Kostitsyn
    Streit – Lapierre – Ryder
    Latendresse – Smolinski – Kostopoulos

    Defence:
    Markov – Komisarek
    Hamrlik – O’Byrne
    Bouillon – Gorges

    Goaltender: Price

    Scratches: Plekanec (flu), Begin (flu & groin), Dandenault, Brisebois