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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 4th (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (28-22-8) at Tampa Bay Lightning (32-23-4), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens hope to close the gap on the seventh-place Tampa Bay Lightning tonight when the teams meet at the St. Pete Times Forum.

The Habs, with 64 points, are eighth in the Eastern Conference -- four behind the Bolts.

On Thursday, Alexei Kovalev's goal in the latter stages of the third period was the game's only tally and Cristobal Huet notched his seventh career shutout, as the Canadiens blanked the Florida Panthers, 1-0, at the BankAtlantic Center.

Huet made 24 saves for the Canadiens, who have won their first two games after the Olympic break.

Montreal plays the third portion of a four-game road trip tonight and will visit Philadelphia on Monday.

Tampa, meanwhile, lost in its return from the break, falling 8-2 to Florida on Tuesday. Olli Jokinen and Joe Nieuwendyk each had two goals and an assist to lift the host Panthers.

Vincent Lecavalier and Ryan Craig scored for the Lightning, who had won their last two games before the Olympic hiatus.

John Grahame lasted less than half the game for Tampa Bay as he allowed four goals on 13 shots. His replacement, Sean Burke, fared worse allowing four goals on nine shots.

The Bolts will host Ottawa on Monday.

The Canadiens are 2-0 against the Lightning this season, and have won four of the last six meetings overall.

03/04 10:22:25 ET


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