This will be the final regular-season meeting between the two teams. The Blackhawks defeated the Canadiens 5-0 in Montreal on Nov. 4.
The Blackhawks have been on a roll in recent weeks. They’re on a four-game winning streak and have won seven of their last eight games. They have outscored their opponents 29-14 in the last eight games.
The Canadiens have been going the other way as of late. They have dropped four out of their last five games. They still have one of the league’s best records at 17-8-2.
Antti Raanta will make his second consecutive start for the Blackhawks in net. He stopped 40-of-41 shots in a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a lower-body injury.
Canadiens starting goaltender Carey Price is 14-6-1 with a 2.35 goals-against average and .922 save percentage this season.
The Blackhawks’ lines should be the same for the fifth consecutive game. The lines are expected to be Brandon Saad – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa, Kris Versteeg – Brad Richards – Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell – Andrew Shaw – Daniel Carcillo, Joakim Nordstrom – Marcus Kruger – Ben Smith. The defenseman pairings are expected to be Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya – Niklas Hjalmarsson, David Rundblad – Michal Rozsival.
The Canadiens are led by Max Pacioretty’s 12 goals and 20 points. Kane leads the Blackhawks with 12 goals and 25 points.
Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp will miss a 13th consecutive with a lower-body injury. He’s expected to return to the lineup next week.
Blackhawks defenseman Klas Dahlbeck will not play against the Canadiens, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he could make his NHL debut against the Nashville Predators on Saturday.