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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, December 20th (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (16-12-5) at Washington Capitals (13-18-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens have struggled in recent weeks and will now try to turn things around away from home, as they begin a six-game road trip tonight against the Washington Capitals.

The Canadiens are just 4-6-2 in their last 12 contests and are coming off Tuesday's home loss to the Florida Panthers. However, Montreal now takes to the road for their longest trip of the season, which is not such a bad thing considering how well the Habs have played as the visitor this year.

Montreal is 10-5-1 as the road club this year and has won four of its last six away from Quebec.

The Habs were handed a close loss by the Panthers the last time out, as Florida scored the first three goals of the game and held on for the 3-2 victory.

Andrei Markov scored both goals for the Canadiens, who had a two-game winning streak halted. Carey Price turned aside 27 shots in the loss.

Montreal is expected to use Cristobal Huet in goal this evening after Price started the last seven games for the Habs. Huet hasn't played since suffering a pulled groin in a game against Nashville on December 1.

Washington, which is last in the Eastern Conference with just 29 points, has dropped two of its last three contests. The most recent setback came Monday evening in a close game against the Detroit Red Wings, the team with the best record in the NHL this year.

Henrik Zetterberg scored the winner in the shootout as the Red Wings edged the visiting Caps, 4-3, at Joe Louis Arena.

Alexander Semin, Alexander Ovechkin and Jeff Schultz each had a goal for the Capitals, while Olaf Kolzig made 27 saves in defeat.

Washington is 6-9-1 as the host this season, but has taken three of its last four tests on home ice.

The Habs have taken two straight, five of six and eight of the last 12 encounters with the Capitals. However, Washington has won three of the previous five meetings on its home ice.

12/20 10:44:18 ET

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