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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, December 4th (All times eastern)

New York Rangers (18-8-2) at Montreal Canadiens (14-6-4), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will shoot for their third straight victory when they welcome the New York Rangers for tonight's battle between Original Six teams at the Bell Centre.

The Canadiens are coming off victories over Buffalo and Atlanta to win consecutive games for the first time since a three-game winning streak from October 28 to November 1.

The back-to-back wins have come at the start of a franchise-record seven-game homestand for the Habs, who are 7-2-2 as the host this season.

Montreal blew a three-goal lead in the third period of Tuesday's game against Atlanta, but was able to win the game in regulation. Robert Lang's empty-net goal proved to be the game-winner, as the Canadiens held on to secure a 5-4 victory over the Thrashers.

Andrei Kostitsyn's goal with 5:11 remaining in regulation put the Habs back on top 4-3 after they allowed three Atlanta goals within 59 seconds earlier in the period.

Andrei Markov, Matt D'Agostini and Tomas Plekanec also scored for Montreal, which has won three of its last four games. Carey Price allowed four goals on 26 shots in the victory.

The Rangers, meanwhile, have won four of their last five games and come into tonight's test with 38 points, which places them first in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

The Blueshirts were in action on Wednesday and rebounded nicely from Sunday's 4-0 blanking by the Florida Panthers as they notched a shootout decision over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.

Nikolai Zherdev netted the game-winner in the shootout, as New York edged Pittsburgh, 3-2, at Madison Square Garden.

After Markus Naslund scored on the opening shot for New York, Miroslav Satan failed for Pittsburgh. Zherdev beat Dany Sabourin with a high backhander on the Rangers' second shootout chance, then Pittsburgh's Kris Letang beat Henrik Lundqvist.

Fredrik Sjostrom eventually iced the game for the Blueshirts with his wrister.

Zherdev and Petr Prucha scored in regulation for the Rangers, while Lundqvist made 29 saves.

New York is 7-3-1 as the visiting team this year and has won two straight and three of four on the road.

This is the first of four meetings between the Rangers and Habs this season. New York has taken six of eight overall in the series, but Montreal has won two of three and three of the last five home matchups.

12/04 10:40:58 ET

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