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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 31st (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Kings (20-20-7) at Montreal Canadiens (27-15-6), 2 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens hope to break out of a recent funk when the struggling club returns to the Bell Centre for this afternoon's test with a Los Angeles Kings team trying to match its longest winning streak of the season.

Montreal just completed a rough five-game road trip that saw the Habs drop four straight games following a shootout win at Ottawa to begin the trek. The latest setback was the most lopsided of the bunch, as the Canadiens were routed by a 5-1 score by the Florida Panthers Thursday at the BankAtlantic Center.

The four-game slide is Montreal's longest of the season and worst since it also lost four straight contests from February 27-March 8, 2006.

The Canadiens will get to play their next three games at the Bell Centre, where the team has put together a strong 15-4-4 record this season and has won its last four outings. Following today's tilt, Montreal hosts division-rival Boston on Sunday before a home clash with Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

A return to form from goaltender Carey Price would also help the Canadiens' cause. The starter for the Eastern Conference in this past Sunday's All-Star Game has lost three straight appearances and surrendered 14 goals over that span. In Thursday's defeat to Florida, Price gave up five goals on 36 shots.

While the Habs have been allowing goals in bunches lately, the Kings have been scoring them at will during their recent surge. Los Angeles has lit the lamp 16 times in consecutive wins over Minnesota, Colorado and Chicago, while also receiving some strong goaltending from rookie Jonathan Quick in Thursday's 5-2 decision over the Blackhawks at the Staples Center.

Quick stopped 31-of-33 shots to help the Kings maintain their winning ways, while All-Star Dustin Brown paced the offense with two goals and an assist. Patrick O'Sullivan, Alexander Frolov and Jarret Stoll also netted goals for Los Angeles.

Brown has racked up eight points (5 goals, 3 assists) over his last four games and was named the NHL's First Star of the Week on January 26.

The Kings strung together four straight wins one time previously this season, between November 6-13. Even with its recent spark, Los Angeles still resides at the bottom of the Pacific Division with 47 points.

Los Angeles also hasn't defeated the Canadiens since a 2-1 home win on March 8, 2003 and is 1-10 with one tie in its last 12 visits to Montreal. The Habs have won the last three overall matchups in the series.

01/31 10:46:28 ET

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