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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 12th (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (22-13-8) at New York Rangers (20-19-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers will try again for their first win of 2008 tonight, as they host the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers wrapped December with three straight wins, but have gone 0-4-1 in their first five games of January. That included a winless three-game road trip and setbacks in the first two games of their current three-game homestand that concludes tonight. The Rangers are 13-10-0 at home this year.

New York was last in action on Thursday, when it fell to Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia, 6-2.

Ryan Hollweg posted the first two-goal game of his career, as the Rangers continued to struggle on offense. New York went 0-for-7 on the power play against the Flyers and has lit the lamp only 107 times this year, tied for the second-lowest total in the Eastern Conference.

Dan Girardi added two assists for New York, which is on its longest losing streak of the season and will try to avoid its first six-game slide since losing seven in a row from December 16-29 of last season.

Henrik Lundqvist allowed a season-high tying six goals on 30 shots in defeat and is 0-3-1 in his last four starts, giving up 16 goals in that span. His slump may have cost him an All-Star berth, as he was left off the Eastern Conference roster when the reserves were announced on Friday.

Scott Gomez, who leads New York with 40 points (10 goals, 30 assists), was named to the squad.

Meanwhile, Montreal has won two straight and three of four after Thursday's 5-2 victory over Boston. Tomas Plekanec and Maxim Lapierre scored in the first period and Alex Kovalev tallied in the second to stake Montreal to a three- goal lead.

Boston then rallied for a pair of goals, but Mathieu Dandenault scored twice in the third stanza to lift Montreal. Dandenault hadn't lit the lamp since December 6, a span of 13 games.

Kovalev extended his point streak to five games, amassing three goals and five assists in that span.

Defenseman Andrei Markov is Montreal's lone All-Star representative, as he was voted in as a starter.

Cristobal Huet stopped 23-of-25 shots against Boston to post his third straight win and 13th victory of the season. He is 1-1-1 with 2.11 goals- against average and one shutout in four career games versus the Rangers.

Thursday's win came in the opener of a four-game road trip that will also feature games against the New York Islanders and Atlanta. Montreal has won three of its last four on the road and is 14-6-3 as the visiting team this season.

New York beat the Habs on December 30 at Madison Square Garden and has taken four of the last five meetings. Montreal has dropped three in a row in the Big Apple.

01/12 10:43:42 ET


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