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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, December 23rd (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (17-18-3) at Carolina Hurricanes (9-21-6), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will aim for a third consecutive victory when they visit the lowly Carolina Hurricanes for tonight's battle at RBC Center.

The Canadiens had lost five straight overall before winning two in a row at the start of a season-long, seven-game road trip. Montreal had also lost four of its five previous away games before beginning this epic trek.

Montreal, which comes into tonight two points out of a playoff seed in the East, kicked off the swing with a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders and then edged the Thrashers on Monday. The consecutive victories improved the Habs to 8-9-1 as the visiting team this season.

The Canadiens recorded a 4-3 comeback win in Atlanta as Marc-Andre Bergeron scored the game-tying goal late in regulation and had the game-winner in overtime. Bergeron scored on the power play to knot the score with 1:45 remaining in the third period and scored his ninth goal of the year at 2:23 of OT.

Tomas Plekanec had a goal and three assists in the win, while Mike Cammalleri had two helpers and Andrei Kostitsyn also scored.

Jaroslav Halak made 47 saves in his second consecutive strong performance for Montreal. Halak, who stopped 40 shots in a 3-0 victory over the Islanders on Saturday, could get his third straight nod tonight over regular starter Carey Price. Price is winless (0-3-1) in his last four outings.

"I think they had better chances," Montreal head coach Jacques Martin said. "But I think our power play came through big-time at the end of the game."

The Canadiens could play their fourth straight game without defenseman Roman Hamrlik, as the veteran continues to deal with a knee injury. Hamrlik is second amongst Montreal defenseman in scoring this year with 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists).

Carolina, which is dead last in the NHL with just 24 points, has lost five of its last seven games and is just 9-21-6 on the season.

The Hurricanes last played on Monday, when they were dealt a 3-1 loss by the visiting New York Rangers. Brandon Dubinsky scored the game-winning goal early in the third period, as the Rangers scored three unanswered goals to defeat Carolina at RBC Center.

Sergei Samsonov scored the lone goal for the Hurricanes, while Cam Ward turned aside 28-of-30 shots in defeat.

On the injury front, Hurricanes defenseman Niclas Wallin has missed the last eight games with an upper-body injury and is still considered day-to-day.

Carolina had won three straight on home ice prior to Monday's setback against the Rangers. The Hurricanes, who are playing the third test on a four-game homestand tonight, are 8-8-2 as the host team this season. The 'Canes will complete the residency Saturday against Philadelphia.

Montreal posted a 3-2 shootout victory when the Hurricanes visited the Bell Centre on November 17. The Habs ended a three-game series losing streak and won for just the fourth time in the last 12 meetings overall. The Canadiens have lost two straight in Raleigh, but the clubs have split the last six encounters in North Carolina.

12/23 10:50:27 ET


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