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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, December 29th (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (19-9-6) at Florida Panthers (16-14-5), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will aim for their fourth win in five games when they visit the Florida Panthers for this evening's tilt at BankAtlantic Center.

The Canadiens have recorded at least a point in four straight games by posting a 3-0-1 record over that span.

The Habs lost an overtime decision to Carolina on December 21 and were off until Saturday's road test against Pittsburgh. Andrei Kostitsyn registered his first career hat trick to lift Montreal to the 3-2 triumph over the Penguins.

Carey Price was in top form, holding the high-powered Pens to just two goals on 34 shots. He made 17 saves in the third period to quash any chance of a comeback. Price is 14-4-5 on the season with a .920 save percentage and a 2.38 goals against average.

Tomas Plekanec twice set up Kostitsyn on similar plays from behind the net. Alex Kovalev and Josh Gorges each notched an assist for the Canadiens.

The Habs, who opened a four-game road trip on Saturday, are now 8-5-2 as the visiting team this year and halted a two-game skid away from the Bell Centre. Montreal will also visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday before closing out the trip Friday in New Jersey.

The Panthers have lost two straight and four of their last six tests and were recently swept in a home-and-home series with the Lightning. Florida lost a shootout decision in the home portion on Friday and were then handed a regulation setback the following night in Tampa.

Martin St. Louis and Ryan Malone tallied a goal and three assists each as the Lightning downed the Panthers, 6-4, at St. Pete Times Forum.

David Booth scored twice and logged an assist while Stephen Weiss scored and added a helper for the Panthers. Nathan Horton also scored and Tomas Vokoun gave up six goals in facing 42 shots.

The Panthers have won three of their last five home tests and are 8-4-3 as the host club this season. Florida will begin a four-game road trip Wednesday afternoon against the New York Islanders.

Montreal beat the visiting Panthers, 3-1, on October 20 in the only meeting between the clubs so far this year. The Habs have taken three straight from Florida and two in a row at BankAtlantic Center.

12/29 10:40:43 ET

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