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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, February 12th (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (28-21-6-2) at Tampa Bay Lightning (28-17-7-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Two playoff-minded clubs clash this evening when the Southeast Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning welcome the Montreal Canadiens to the St. Pete Times Forum.

Tampa Bay is 7-1-1 in its last nine games, including Tuesday's 4-4 tie in Toronto. Gary Roberts scored with 45 seconds remaining in regulation to help erase a two-goal deficit and lift the Maple Leafs to the deadlock.

Vincent Lecavalier scored two of the three power-play goals for Tampa Bay, which has earned a point in 10 of its last 11 (7-1-1-2). Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis posted a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay, while Nikolai Khabibulin turned aside 25 shots.

Lecavalier has scored five goals in his last nine contests.

The Lightning, with 66 points, are 14 ahead of Florida in the Southeast Division race. Tampa is currently the third seed in the Eastern Conference -- six behind No. 2 Toronto and eight back of No. 1 Philadelphia.

Tampa Bay, 4-0-1-1 in its last six at home, will host Florida on Saturday.

Montreal, meanwhile, had a three-game winning streak ended via Tuesday's 2-1 loss at Florida. The Panthers' Viktor Kozlov scored twice in a span of seven seconds in the second period to lift Florida.

Andrei Markov notched the lone tally for the Canadiens, who had their three- game win streak snapped. It was the first goal in 10 contests for Markov.

Jose Theodore made 20 saves in the loss for Montreal.

There was bad news on the injury front for the Habs, as All-Star defenseman Sheldon Souray suffered a sprained left knee in the setback. Souray is expected to miss at least tonight's game and Saturday's tilt with Ottawa.

The Canadiens, with 64 points, are seventh in the Eastern Conference -- three behind No. 6 New Jersey.

Montreal, 6-3-1 in its last 10 road games, opened a three-game swing Tuesday.

The Canadiens are 2-1 against the Bolts this season, but Tampa is 4-2-1 in the last seven meetings overall.

02/12 10:22:34 ET

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