MONTREAL (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The slumping Florida Panthers will try to pick up their first win on a disappointing divisional road trip.
The Montreal Canadiens have struggled at Bell Centre for much of the past two months but they have earned seven out of a possible 10 points on their current six-game homestand, which concludes Thursday night against the Panthers.
Montreal holds a four-point lead atop the Atlantic Division with six games to play, but second-place Ottawa has a game in hand.
The Canadiens spotted Dallas the opening goal before responding with four unanswered tallies — three in the third period — to nudge closer to the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed.
Montreal is 15-3-6 against Atlantic foes, a notable statistic given that they play their final six games against division foes, including four on the road.
Despite the overall success within the division, the Panthers have been a nemesis for the Canadiens with a six-game point streak (5-0-1) and wins in their last three visits to Montreal.
Florida has dropped the first two legs of its four-game road trip to move closer to playoff elimination, trailing Boston by nine points for the second wild card with six games remaining.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Florida, RDS, Sportsnet East (Montreal)
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (33-32-11): Goaltender James Reimer, who has started 12 of 13 games since Roberto Luongo suffered a lower-body injury on March 2, was knocked out of Tuesday’s loss when he took an elbow to the head from Toronto’s Brian Boyle.
Luongo was expected to receive a start on the four-game trek and interim coach Tom Rowe, asked if Luongo was ready, responded: “I certainly hope so.”
Defenseman Keith Yandle collected two assists Tuesday to reach 40 points for the seventh time.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (43-24-9): Backup netminder Al Montoya was scheduled to get the start against Dallas but suffered a lower-body injury.
Carey Price stepped in with a 27-save performance while allowing one goal for the third time in his last four outings.
Coach Claude Julien said at Wednesday’s practice that Price will not play in all of the final six games.
Depending on the status of Montoya, that could mean a start for Charlie Lindgren, recalled from St. John’s on an emergency basis.
- Canadiens D Andrei Markov is tied with Hall of Famer Guy Lapointe with 572 points, second among defensemen on the franchise’s all-time list.
- Panthers F Jaromir Jagr netted his seventh power-play goal Tuesday, his highest total since notching eight in 2011.
- Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty and linemate Alexander Radulov halted goal droughts of six and nine games, respectively.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Sports Direct Inc. contributed to this report.)