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PREVIEW: Vancouver Canucks look to stay hot against Montreal Canadiens

Jan 30, 2021; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (9) skates into the Winnipeg Jets zone duringf the second period at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 30, 2021; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (9) skates into the Winnipeg Jets zone duringf the second period at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Winners of four straight games, the Vancouver Canucks look to extend their streak against the last team to defeat them when the Canucks visit the Montreal Canadiens on Monday.

This is already the fourth meeting of the year between the two teams, with Montreal posting a 2-0-1 record over the first three games. After the Canucks collected a 6-5 shootout victory on January 20, the Canadiens dominated the next two games, outscoring Vancouver by a 12-5 margin.

Those losses now look like an early turning point for the Canucks, who are a perfect 4-0-0 since last facing the Canadiens. Vancouver reeled off three straight wins over the Ottawa Senators and then recorded a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.

Canucks coach Travis Green felt the victory over Winnipeg was his team’s best overall effort of the season, a “200-foot game” that saw Vancouver excel in all facets.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Canucks, check out #Canucks rumors, rankings, and news here.

“I thought we were on top of our game, the type of game we want to play,” Green said. “It takes a lot of work, a lot of effort from our players to play the way we need to, to have success. It looked more like our team from last year.”

Vancouver has allowed only one goal in every game of the four-game win streak, outscoring opponents 20-4.

Montreal is looking to rebound from its first regulation loss of the season, a 2-0 shutout to the Calgary Flames on Saturday. The Canadiens outshot Calgary by a 37-33 margin but were thwarted by goalie Jacob Markstrom (37 saves) and 22 blocked shots from the Flames.

“We just weren’t able to put the puck in,” forward Brendan Gallagher said. “It comes down to outworking the goaltender. We all put those expectations on ourselves to put the puck in, and we just didn’t do it.”

The Habs were 0-for-5 on the power play against Calgary. It was just the second time in eight games this season that Montreal didn’t score at least one power-play goal.

Canadiens forward Josh Anderson is questionable for Monday after leaving Saturday’s game due to flu-like symptoms. Coach Claude Julien said Anderson tested negative for COVID-19 and will be tested again prior to Monday.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi also briefly left Saturday’s game after a hit from Calgary’s Dillon Dube, but Kotkaniemi returned to play in the third period. Kotkaniemi passed concussion protocols but could potentially be a question mark for Monday’s lineup.

The Canadiens and Canucks also play on Tuesday, leaving both teams likely to use both goalies during the back-to-back series.

Carey Price is Montreal’s probable starter in net for Monday. Backup Jake Allen got the start on Saturday and played well in the loss, stopping 31 of 32 shots.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Canadiens, check out #GoHabsGo rumors, rankings, and news here.

Thatcher Demko will likely start for the Canucks on Monday, with Braden Holtby tentatively scheduled for Tuesday. The red-hot Demko is 3-0-0 with a .971 save percentage over his last three starts.

Vancouver has three players with 11 points in 11 games played this season — Brock Boeser (eight goals, three assists), Bo Horvat (five goals, six assists) and Quinn Hughes (one goal, 10 assists).

The Canadiens are 17-1-4 over their last 22 games against Vancouver dating to the 2009-10 season. The Canucks haven’t recorded a regulation victory in Montreal since Jan. 16, 2007.

–Field Level Media