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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, November 2nd (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (7-3-1) at Columbus Blue Jackets (6-4-0), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens were denied a fifth straight victory their last time out, but the Habs will try to get back on track tonight when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

The Canadiens entered Saturday's game against visiting Florida riding a four- game winning streak and had also posted victories in six out of seven games. However, David Booth scored the tie-breaking goal on a penalty shot and Tomas Vokoun made 40 saves to lead the Panthers to a 3-1 decision at the Bell Centre.

Mathieu Darche scored the only goal for the Canadiens, while Carey Price turned away 28 shots in defeat.

Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov, who underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in May, took the ice for the hosts for the first time this season. Markov is one of the best all-around blueliners in the league and figures to be a key to Montreal's success.

Markov should at least help with Montreal's struggling power play. The Habs are just 3-for-39 on the man advantage this season and on Saturday the club failed to score on all five opportunities, including a 5-on-3.

"Special teams is what makes or breaks games," Canadiens captain Brian Gionta said. "You have to win those battles. Our power play hasn't been there all year. The 5-on-3 was huge for us, it was not the turning point but it was a key point in the game."

However, the Canadiens hope to continue their success on the road tonight. Montreal is 4-1-0 as the visiting team this year, winning four straight since dropping its season opener in Toronto.

The Blue Jackets also had their longest winning streak of the season snapped in their last outing, losing a 5-1 decision in Colorado on Saturday. Peter Budaj turned aside 33 shots to lead the way for the Avalanche, while Chris Stewart and Paul Stastny each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche.

Derick Brassard scored the lone goal for the Blue Jackets, who had a three- game winning streak snapped. Steve Mason started in net, but was lifted in the second period as he gave up four goals on 19 shots. Mathieu Garon stopped 11- of-12 shots the rest of the way.

"We knew we had to come out hard tonight, but they got that quick goal and we couldn't recover," said Mason. "We then took a couple of penalties and that third goal was a tough one, we should not have let that happen."

The Blue Jackets are dealing with several injuries at the present time, including ones to defenseman Jan Hejda (calf) and winger Kristian Huselius (foot), who are both questionable for tonight. Hejda has missed the last two games, while Huselius has sat out three in a row.

Columbus is 3-3-0 as the host this year and has won its last two games on home ice.

Montreal posted a 5-3 home win over the Blue Jackets in the only meeting between the clubs last season. That win ended a two-game series winning streak for Columbus and the Habs enter tonight having won two of their last three at Nationwide Arena.

11/02 10:47:06 ET


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