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Game 29 Preview: New Jersey Devils vs Montreal Canadiens

The Devils return to the rock to face off against the top dogs in the east, the Montreal Canadiens. Here's a short (get it, because the Habs still employ short guys) and simple list of things for the Devils to do.

There will be hits tonight.  As well as some other things.
There will be hits tonight. As well as some other things.

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: TV- MSG, CBC (Montreal Area Only), Radio- 660 AM, 101.9 WFAN FM

The Matchup: New Jersey Devils (13-9-6) vs The Montreal Canadiens (18-5-4; SBN Blog Habs Eyes on the Prize)

The TiqIQ Link: Last Minute tickets? No Problemo, you can get some via TiqIQ

The Last Devils Game: The Devils went into Philadelphia and had a rather sloppy game and suffered a pair of injuries- the big one being Andrei Loktionov as well as Stephen Gionta. Both sides played pretty sloppily and the Devils ended up snagging a point in a shootout loss. John has a recap here.

The Last Canadiens Game: Like the Devils, the Canadiens went into a shootout as well, however they were victorious over Robin Lehner and the injury decimated Senators. Andrew Berkshire has a recap of that game here.

The Goal: Keep up with the Habs- they're a team that plays a very similar style to the Devils in that they don't give up a lot of shots, however they are a lot better in terms of generating shots. They have been getting a bit lucky with high percentages, however it's probably only the shooting percentages that will drop- with a goalie like Carey Price, the Habs aren't going to worry about poor goaltending.

Injury Updates: TG's update on Andrei Loktionov from last night suggests that he's going to be re-evaluated tomorrow, which means he's probably not playing tomorrow. This means two things- either Jacob Josefson is recalled to take Loktionov's place, or Patrik Elias moves back to centre, with Travis Zajac likely centering Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexei Ponikarovsky. Stephen Gionta was hurt last night as well, but he returned later and should be fine for tonight.

The interesting injury is Peter Harrold, who took a cheap hit from Brayden Schenn (who by the way, wasn't intimidated by Krys Barch and his presence) to his head. Harrold said he was fine after the hit, but it might be a good idea to give him the night off as a precaution. However, if Harrold seems fine in the morning skate, I do see him staying in. However, Mark Fayne and his "Fresh Legs" should be helpful against a very speedy Canadiens team

PK Subberstar: Ignore the bad pun here- PK Subban has been nothing but spectacular since he's rejoined the Canadiens. He's been playing against tough competition recently and has put up awesome numbers- 20 points in 21 games (12 in his last 8 games) and 63 shots to go with those totals. If he keeps playing like this, he might be able to earn the mega-contract he wanted from the Habs after holding out. To put it bluntly- Subban is the straw that stirs the drink for Montreal. Because he plays lots of minutes, he'll likely be out there (against Kovalchuk nonetheless)- so trying to limit his effectiveness has to be a key.

Kid Power: Max Pacioretty has been the Habs best forward this season- however, it's hard to ignore the contributions from other young forwards like Lars Eller, who's recently been playing really well, as well as Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk. The Habs are going to have a lot of speed out against the Devils- which isn't a great thing considering that Bryce Salvador and Marek Zidlicky, the two defensemen who will likely be out against Pacioretty (side note: WHY PETE, WHY?) are going to get burned often and a lot.

Brandon Prust is a Hab: Thought the Devils were out of the cheapshot garden? Well, the Habs employ Brandon Prust. So keep your heads up, boys. Because if you don't Prust will probably decapitate you (or do something stupid).

Thoughts from the Devils side: If Andrei Loktionov is out tomorrow, it's definitely an uphill battle. The Habs are a good possession team, so they're likely going to give the Devils fits- and without a good possession player, the Habs are likely going to have control for most of the game. All signs point towards Johan Hedberg starting yet again, seeing as Brodeur didn't practice yesterday.