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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 6th (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (34-23-7) at Atlanta Thrashers (23-35-6), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to rebound tonight versus the Atlanta Thrashers, as the two clubs get together at Philips Arena.

The Canadiens had won four straight games until Wednesday's 5-1 setback to Buffalo. Tomas Plekanec accounted for the lone goal, as Montreal dropped the opener of a three-game road trip and fell to 14-17-3 as the guest this year. The Habs have lost four of five and 11 of their last 13 games on the road.

Jaroslav Halak had been in net for all four of Montreal's recent wins, but was unable to go on Wednesday due to illness. Carey Price, who seems to have lost his hold on the No. 1 goaltender spot, made 22 saves in losing his sixth straight start. Price is 0-5-1 in that span with a 4.62 goals against average.

Halak is questionable for tonight's game and the Canadiens recalled goaltender Marc Denis from Hamilton of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.

The loss to Buffalo came on the same day that the trade deadline came and went without Montreal making a move. The Canadiens, who were the top seed in the Eastern Conference a season ago, are fifth in the East right now, one point up on Florida and three points behind fourth-seeded Philadelphia.

Should Price have to go again tonight, the netminder will be facing one of the hottest goal scorers in the league. Ilya Kovalchuk was one of three Atlanta skaters with a goal in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to Florida, giving him five goals and four assists over a five-game point streak.

The sniper also has 22 points (14 goals, 8 assists) over his last 11 games and his 35 goals on the season ranks fourth in the NHL.

Colby Armstrong and Jim Slater also scored on Tuesday for Atlanta, which has dropped four of its last six games. Kari Lehtonen finished the game with 30 saves.

Erik Christensen had two helpers, but was traded on Wednesday to Anaheim for prospect center Eric O'Dell. Christensen was in his first full season with the Thrashers after coming over in a trade from Pittsburgh last year in a deadline deal that sent Marian Hossa to the Penguins. In 47 games with Atlanta this year, the 25-year-old had five goals and 14 assists.

Atlanta is 11-18-2 at home this year and has lost five of its last seven as the host. The Thrashers wrap a four-game homestand on Sunday versus Calgary.

The Canadiens and Thrashers have split two meetings so far this year, with each team winning once on home ice. Atlanta's 4-2 home win on January 20 snapped Montreal's three-game series losing streak and was the club's fourth win in its last six as the host versus the Habs.

03/06 10:40:40 ET

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