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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, March 11th (All times eastern)

Florida Panthers (24-29-14-3) at Montreal Canadiens (37-26-6-2), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens hope to continue their recent hot streak when they host the Florida Panthers tonight at the Bell Centre.

On Monday, Montreal recorded a 5-2 win over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim at the Pond Monday night.

Saku Koivu, Richard Zednik and Michael Ryder each had a goal and an assist in the winning effort. Pierre Dagenais and Steve Begin also scored for the Canadiens, who have won three straight and eight of their last nine games.

Patrice Brisebois and Mike Ribeiro had two assists apiece in the win. Jose Theodore was peppered with 38 shots and turned aside 36 of them for the victory.

The Habs open a three-game homestand tonight before hosting Toronto on Saturday. For the year, Montreal is 19-11-4-0 in its friendly confines.

The Canadiens currently sit seventh in the East -- one point behind sixth place New Jersey.

On Tuesday, Florida was handed a 5-0 setback by the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Ed Belfour made just 15 saves to earn his seventh shutout of season and Gary Roberts scored twice to lead Toronto.

Steve Shields turned away 37 shots for the Panthers, who had their six-game road unbeaten streak snapped (3-0-3) and suffered their third straight loss overall.

Byron Ritchie left in the third after taking a hit for the Panthers, who have one victory in their last six games (1-4-1).

The Panthers have 65 points and are nine behind the New York Islanders for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

Florida completes a two-game road trip tonight before hosting the New York Rangers on Saturday.

The Panthers are unbeaten in the last three meetings with Montreal (2-0-1) and 2-1-1 in the previous four trips to the Bell Centre.

03/11 10:33:47 ET

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