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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 23rd (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (21-8-5) at Boston Bruins (17-13-2), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Heated Northeast Division rivals will face off against one another this evening in Boston's TD Banknorth Garden, where the Bruins look to stop the Montreal Canadiens' season-best five-game win streak.

Montreal now has compiled the second-most points (47) in the Eastern Conference and is just five back of the powerful Buffalo Sabres for first place in the Northeast because of its recent surge.

The Habs' latest victory came at the expense of the lowly Philadelphia Flyers, who were dealt a 4-2 defeat by Montreal Thursday at the Bell Centre. Goaltender David Aebischer made 26 saves to register his 100th career win.

Mike Johnson had a short-handed goal for Montreal, which also received tallies from Guillaume Latendresse, Craig Rivet and Chris Higgins on the evening.

Tonight's contest starts up a four-game road trip for the Canadiens, who own a 9-4-2 away mark on the season.

Boston is on a strong run of its own, as the Bruins won for the second straight game and the third time in four outings with Thursday's 2-0 home blanking of Vancouver.

Tim Thomas was brilliant between the pipes, stopping all 39 shots he faced to record his first shutout of the season and second of his career. Boston was outshot by a 39-19 margin for the game, including a 14-0 difference in the third period.

Patrice Bergeron and Glen Murray had the goals for the Bruins, while Marc Savard assisted on each.

Bergeron and Savard each carry point streaks into tonight's encounter. Bergeron has amassed four goals and nine assists during a seven-game run, while Savard is on a six-game tear, having put up 12 points (five goals, seven assists) over that stretch.

Montreal has taken two of the three previous meetings this season, including a 3-2 win in Beantown on October 26. The Canadiens dominated the season series in 2005-06, winning seven of eight tilts with the Bruins.

The Habs have also posted victories in six of their last eight visits to Boston, including their last three trips to the Garden.

12/23 10:22:37 ET


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