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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, February 19th (All times eastern)

New York Rangers (30-24-7) at Montreal Canadiens (32-19-9), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will shoot for their fourth consecutive victory tonight, when they welcome the New York Rangers for a battle at the Bell Centre.

The Canadiens have won three straight contests and the last two triumphs came against the sliding Philadelphia Flyers. Montreal swept the home-and-home series by blanking the Flyers, 1-0, Saturday in Quebec and then notched a 5-3 decision the following night in Philadelphia.

Montreal has 73 points on the year and is now tied with Ottawa for first place in both the Northeast Division and Eastern Conference. New Jersey also has 73 points and is tied for the conference lead. The Senators will play tonight as they host the Flyers at Scotiabank Place, but the Devils are idle.

Alex Kovalev registered a goal and two assists, as the Habs skated past the Flyers on Sunday night at the Wachovia Center.

Francis Bouillon, Michael Ryder, Saku Koivu and Maxim Lapierre also scored for the Canadiens, who had lost three straight before their current surge.

Andrei Markov had three assists and Andrei Kostitsyn collected two helpers, while Carey Price, who recorded the first shutout of his career Saturday night, stopped 34-of-37 shots to earn his 12th win of the season.

Tonight's test is the opener of a four-game homestand for the Canadiens, who are 13-10-5 as the host this season. Montreal, which will also welcome Pittsburgh, Columbus and Atlanta during this residency, has won five of its last seven tilts at the Bell Centre.

The Rangers, meanwhile, have won two straight and three of their last four contests. New York has outscored its last two opponents by an 8-2 margin as it pounded Buffalo, 5-1, on Saturday before posting a 3-1 decision over San Jose the following night. Both wins came on the Rangers' home ice at Madison Square Garden.

Chris Drury's power-play goal in the second period proved to be the difference in Sunday's game as the Rangers edged San Jose.

Drury added an assist for the Rangers, who beat a Pacific Division team for the first time this year after going 0-4-0 in their first four games this year against the division.

Ryan Callahan lit the lamp twice for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 29-of-30 shots in the win.

The Rangers have an 11-11-7 record as the visiting team this year, but have won four of their last five on the road. New York will cap a brief two-game road trip with Saturday's stop in Buffalo.

New York is 3-0 against the Canadiens this year and can sweep the season series with another win tonight. The Rangers have taken four straight, six of seven and seven of the last 10 games overall against Montreal. The Blueshirts have even won two of their last three contests at the Bell Centre.

02/19 10:53:33 ET

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