The Montreal Canadiens play their final road game of the season tonight when they travel to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks.
The Canadiens are playing their best hockey of the season of late, winning 10 of their past 12 games heading into tonight. The Habs currently sit second in the Atlantic Division standings with 97 points, and will attempt to hold off the Tampa Bay Lightning who are just two points back with three games remaining for both teams.
The Blackhawks are in a similar battle in the Western Conference, fighting with the Colorado Avalanche for second in the Central Division, and home ice advantage in the opening round of the postseason.
Both teams are severely shorthanded tonight, the Canadiens electing to leave Andrei Markov, Carey Price and Alexei Emelin in Montreal, and Douglas Murray serving the final game of a three game suspension. Montreal will have Josh Gorges in the lineup for the first time since he broke his hand over a month ago.
The Hawks are without two of the best players in the league, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, both whom are injured. The pair have combined for 137 points this season for Chicago, but the Blackhawks have won three straight without the dynamic duo.
Chicago has an excellent home record this season at 26-7-7, including winning three straight as the host. Montreal is 6-1-0 as the visitor since returning from a mid March trip to California, and can reach 50 points on the road if they win tonight.
The two teams have met just once so far this season, with the Canadiens turning in one of their most impressive performances of the season and defeating the Hawks 2-1 on an Andrei Markov overtime winner.