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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, January 24th (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (25-15-8) at New Jersey Devils (28-17-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of teams coming off decisive victories over division rivals will try to keep the offense going tonight, when the New Jersey Devils welcome the Montreal Canadiens for a battle at the Prudential Center.

The Canadiens pounded the visiting Boston Bruins, 8-2, on Tuesday, while the Devils slammed the Flyers, 7-3, in Philadelphia the same night. Both Montreal and Jersey set season-highs for goals scored.

This evening's test is the final game for both clubs before the All-Star break.

Montreal continued its dominance of the Bruins with Tuesday's win, as the Habs improved to 6-0-0 against Boston this season. The Canadiens, who have outscored the Bruins by a 32-10 count this year, have also won nine straight and 16 of the last 19 encounters in the series.

Cristobal Huet made 29 saves, and Andrei Kostitsyn scored twice and added an assist as the Canadiens mauled the Bruins.

Tom Kostopoulos, Bryan Smolinski and Michael Komisarek had a goal and an assist each as Montreal won for the third time in four games.

Michael Ryder, Maxim Lapierre and Alex Kovalev also lit the lamp, while Mark Streit registered three assists and Steve Begin and Sergei Kostitsyn had two apiece.

Montreal has an impressive 16-7-3 record as the visiting club this year and has won five of its last seven road tilts.

The Devils, meanwhile, beat the rival Flyers on Tuesday and grabbed a hold of first place in the Atlantic Division as a result of the win. Zach Parise and Patrik Elias each scored a pair of goals to lead New Jersey to the easy win at the Wachovia Center. It was the second straight win and fifth in seven games overall for the Devils.

Johnny Oduya had a goal and three assists, as the Devils won their fifth straight over the Flyers, and took over the lead in the Atlantic Division. New Jersey is atop the Atlantic with 59 points, Pittsburgh is one back in second and the Flyers are third with 57 points.

Travis Zajac had three assists for the Devils, who were 5-of-8 on power play opportunities. Martin Brodeur made 24 saves in the win.

The Devils are beginning a five-game homestand tonight, but the next test won't be until Tuesday night against Pittsburgh. Jersey is 14-7-0 as the host this season.

Jersey beat the visiting Habs, 4-0, on November 30 in the only other meeting between the clubs this year. The Devils have taken nine straight and 12 of the last 15 in the series.

01/24 10:52:50 ET


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