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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 3rd (All times Eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (10-11-5) at Los Angeles Kings (13-8-4), 3:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to avoid a fifth consecutive loss when they complete a three-game road trip with today's tilt at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Canadiens are last in the Northeast Division and have dropped four straight for the first time since a six-game slide from Oct. 13-24. The Habs hope their recent success against the Kings can get them a much-needed two points this afternoon.

Montreal has dominated the Kings in recent years, winning six straight, eight of nine and 12 of the last 15 meetings between the clubs. The Kings last beat Montreal on March 8, 2003 and since then the Canadiens have won three straight in LA.

The Canadiens' latest setback came Thursday in San Jose, as they were dealt a shootout loss in the second test of a three-game road trip. The Canadiens held a 3-2 lead late in regulation, but Ryane Clowe tied the game with 1:26 left in the third period for the Sharks. Joe Pavelski scored the game-winner in the shootout, lifting San Jose to the 4-3 decision.

Erik Cole cleaned up a puck in front to give Montreal its third lead of the game, 3-2, at 8:46 of the third period. But Clowe scored on a rebound in the slot to tie it, and Pavelski beat Carey Price through the legs in the sixth round of the shootout.

Michael Cammalleri and David Desharnais added goals for the Canadiens, while Price made 38 saves in the losing effort.

"We give up one at the end, we were unable to get the win in overtime and then we had another chance to win it in the shootout," a frustrated Cammalleri said after Thursday's game. "It's tough right now. It feels like we're in a little bit of a hole and two points would have been nice especially since we put ourselves in a situation to get them."

Montreal is 6-6-1 as the road team this year and will try to halt a three-game losing streak as the away team.

Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty will serve the final part of a three-game suspension today and will be eligible to return for Tuesday's home game against Columbus. Pacioretty, who leads Montreal with 10 goals, is serving the ban for a hit on Pittsburgh's Kris Letang last Saturday.

Although Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov has been practicing and is nearing a return to the ice, he is not expected to play today. The blueliner and power-play quarterback hasn't played since re-injuring his right knee on Nov. 13, 2010 as he was forced to undergo a second reconstructive surgery less than a month later.

The Kings, meanwhile, will shoot for a third straight win when they take the ice this afternoon. Today's tilt will mark the end of a four-game homestand for Los Angeles, which is 8-6-1 as the host this year.

LA earned its most recent win Thursday against Florida, as Jonathan Quick made 41 saves to backstop the Kings to a 2-1 regulation victory over the Panthers.

Quick, fresh off a shutout of the Sharks on Monday, was backed by goals from Jack Johnson and Dustin Brown, whose second-period goal on the power play proved to be the game-winner.

"The guys stepped up big. It was a huge effort. It's a big two points," Quick said of the Kings, who are second in the Pacific Division and just one point behind Dallas for the top spot.

LA forward Mike Richards is questionable for today's test after suffering an upper-body injury in Thursday's game. Richards, who has a team-high 11 goals on the year, was hit high by Florida's Sean Bergenheim in the second period and forced to leave the game. The NHL announced Friday that Bergenheim will not receive a suspension for the hit.

12/03 10:42:49 ET

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