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Reply To: NHL • Tuesday Service Plays • 12/1/15

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Preview: Columbus at Montreal

When: 7:30 PM ET, Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec

The Montreal Canadiens own the best record in hockey but staying atop the standings will be a daunting task following Monday’s news that star goaltender Carey Price will be sidelined for at least six weeks due to a lower-body injury. Rookie Mike Condon will make his third consecutive start when the Canadiens host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.

Price, who missed more that three weeks earlier in the season, aggravated the injury Wednesday against the New York Rangers and is not expected to return until 2016. “Before (Price’s) timeline wasn’t as long, so you could kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Montreal captain Max Pacioretty said. “Now we have to get through ‘x’ amount of games without our best player. Right now it’s a long period of time; we don’t know when he’s going to be back.” The reigning Hart and Vezina Trophy winner, Price is 10-2-0 with a 2.06-goals-against average this season. Columbus is coming off a 3-1 loss at St. Louis on Saturday, its third defeat in the past nine games (6-3-0).

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Columbus), RDS (Montreal)

ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (10-15-0): After scoring only once in his first 15 contests, Ryan Johansen is heating up with five goals in his last eight games, including four tallies in the last five outings. Center Brandon Dubinsky will be back in the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for a cross-check to the head of Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, but forward Markus Hannikainen will not be available after he suffered an upper-body injury in his NHL debut Saturday. Sergei Bobrovsky, who has won six of his last eight starts, is 5-3-0 lifetime versus the Canadiens.

ABOUT THE CANADIENS (18-4-3): Condon went 6-0-1 in his first seven starts and did not permit more than two goals in an outing, but he is 2-2-2 in his last six starts and has yielded at least three goals in five of them. “We’ll see what the character of this team is,” general manager Marc Bergevin said. “I believe in our character, and every team in the NHL goes through periods without key players. … There’s no need for us to panic over this.” Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk was named the league’s Third Star of the Week on Monday after collecting four goals and an assist in three games.


1. Pacioretty scored five goals in a three-game season sweep of Columbus in 2014-15, including three game-winners.

2. The Blue Jackets are 0-for-18 on the power play over their past seven games.

3. Montreal sent G Dustin Tokarski, who hasn’t played since Oct. 28, to St. John’s of the American Hockey League and called up G Zachary Fucale.

PREDICTION: Canadiens 4, Blue Jackets 2