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Erik Cole

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#MTLHockey Preview

HabsStars

Match Up

The Canadiens (29-13-3) return to action Tuesday night after the All Star break, playing host to the Stars (21-18-7). The game is set to start at 7:30 and airs on RDS and Sportsnet East.

This is the second and final game between the Habs and Stars this season, and the only one in Montreal. The last time these teams met, Dallas skated away with an easy 4-1 victory on home ice. Tyler Seguin had a pair of goals and an assist in the win.

What to Watch

Carey Price and Jiri Sekac return from their All-Star experiences in Columbus and the rest of the Canadiens return from their extended breaks looking to pick up where they left off. The last time the Habs played, Max Pacioretty was held pointless in a 2-1 overtime victory against the Predators, ending his seven game point streak. PK Subban and Alex Galchenyuk each had a goal and an assist in the win over Nashville.

Averaging over three goals per game, the Stars have the league’s fourth ranked offense, led by the NHL’s top goal-scorer, Tyler Seguin. Seguin is second overall in points with 52, 12 points more than the Stars’ next most productive player, Jamie Benn, who currently has 40 points, including 13 goals.

What’s at Stake

While the Canadiens are third in points in the Atlantic division, they still hold a lead over the Lightning and Red Wings in terms of points percentage. The Habs are locked into a close race for top spot in the division that’s likely to last the rest of the season, so every point matters.

Who’s Out

A week off is usually enough to cure what ails you, but P.A. Parenteau (concussion) is still not ready to play on Tuesday. Aside from that, the Habs are healthy as their schedule is about to kick into overdrive.

The Stars will see lots of players returning to action on Tuesday, but former Hab Erik Cole (upper body) is not one of them, he’s expected to miss the match. Valeri Nichushkin (hip) is also missing, his November hip surgery has kept him out of the lineup for most of the season.

What Else

For the Habs a long break translates into a cramped schedule in their next stretch of the season. With only 45 games played to this point, only the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers have played less than the Canadiens this season. To compensate, the Habs will play 28 games between January 27 and March 21, a span of 54 days.

The Question Mark

How much of the All-Star Weekend did you watch and what was your favorite moment?

Tonight’s Show

Join host Steven Hindle along with Kosta Papoulias and Rob Elbaz for the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show as we go live at 6:30 to preview the Canadiens and the Stars.

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