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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, March 18th (All times eastern)

St. Louis Blues (29-32-11) at Montreal Canadiens (40-24-9), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to extend their lead in the Northeast Division tonight, and take over the top spot in the Eastern Conference, as they take on the struggling St. Louis Blues at the Bell Centre.

Montreal has won four of its last six games to move two points up on the Ottawa Senators in the standings. Both clubs have 10 games remaining in the regular season, though the Senators are idle until Thursday.

The Canadiens are also a point back of New Jersey for the number one seed in the East, and the Devils are also off today but have still played one less game than Montreal this year.

Backup netminder Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves on Saturday in a 3-0 win over the New York Islanders for his first shutout of the season and third of his career. Halak has won both of his starts this year, both coming after Cristobal Huet was dealt to Washington at the trade deadline.

Carey Price has made eight starts since that deal, going 5-3-0 with a 2.25 goals-against average.

Roman Hamrlik, Guillaume Latendresse and Alex Kovalev each scored for the Canadiens, who have won four of their last five games at home and are 18-13-5 as the host this season. Montreal will open a home-and-home set on Thursday against Boston before hosting Ottawa next Monday.

The Blues will be trying to avoid setting a franchise mark tonight, as they have lost their last 10 road games. That equals the worst road skid in club history, done twice, first January 20-March 8, 1982 and again from December 29-February 1 during the 2005-06 campaign.

St. Louis was in Anaheim on Saturday and dropped a 5-2 decision to the Ducks. Jeff Woywitka had a goal and an assist for the Blues, who have lost six straight overall and 12 of their last 13. Jamal Mayers also scored and Manny Legace stopped 28 shots in the loss.

The Blues' six consecutive defeats are just one shy of their season-long seven-game skid from January 11-24. St. Louis has just 69 points on the year, 15 points out of a postseason berth in the West with 10 games to go.

St. Louis' last six setbacks have all come on a nine-game road swing, the club's longest in franchise history, that still has trips left to Ottawa and Chicago. The Blues are just 10-19-6 on the road this season.

Montreal has won its last two against St. Louis after dropping four straight. The Canadiens have won three of their last five against the Blues in Montreal and are meeting at the Bell Centre for the first time since January 1, 2004.

03/18 10:42:26 ET


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