NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, February 13th
(All times eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (29-20-6) at Colorado Avalanche (25-29-1), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Both the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche will be
hoping to put sizeable losing streaks to an end when the two fading teams get
together at the Pepsi Center this evening.
The Canadiens bring a four-game skid into Denver, matching the club's longest
slide of the season, and have lost nine of their last 11 outings. They'll try
to get back on track against a Colorado squad that is tied for the fewest
points in the Western Conference and has dropped three in a row and 10 of its
last 13 contests.
The Avalanche have won their last two tilts at the Pepsi Center, however, and
are a respectable 16-13-0 as the host this season. Colorado returns home off a
three-game road trip in which it failed to earn a point and scored just three
Colorado's most recent setback came Wednesday in Minnesota, where the Wild's
Antti Miettinen scored with 1:11 remaining in regulation to lift his team to a
Ryan Smyth scored both Avalanche goals and Andrew Raycroft stopped 23-of-26
shots in the narrow defeat.
Raycroft has now lost in each of his last six appearances following a personal
seven-start winning streak from November 29-January 10.
Montreal's problems have primarily come on the road, where the Habs have lost
seven consecutive times and have been blown out in each of the first two tests
of a six-game trek. After suffering a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Calgary on
Monday, the Canadiens were routed by Edmonton by a 7-2 count Wednesday at
Habs goaltender Carey Price's recent struggles continued in the Edmonton game,
as the 21-year-old yielded four first-period goals and saved just 20-of-27
shots. The All-Star netminder allowed five goals in his previous start, a home
loss to Toronto last Saturday.
Over his last nine starts, Price is just 2-7-0 with a 4.00 goals against
average and an .863 save percentage.
The Canadiens will be attempting to avoid their first eight-game road losing
streak since an 0-6-3 stretch from November 10-December 26, 2005. They'll also
be without Tomas Plekanec for tonight's matchup, as the Czech forward received
a two-game suspension by the league for tripping Edmonton's Denis Grebeshkov
from behind in Wednesday's loss.
These teams will be meeting for the first time since Montreal posted an 8-5
win over the Avs at the Bell Centre on October 21, 2006. The Canadiens are
winless in their last 10 encounters as the visitor in this series, having
recorded seven losses and three ties over that span.
02/13 10:45:18 ET