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Tuesday, February 27th (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (33-26-6) at New York Rangers (29-27-6), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Having re-discovered their winning ways, the Montreal Canadiens begin an important road trip tonight at Madison Square Garden against a New York Rangers team in desperate need of a victory.

The Canadiens have rebounded strongly from a six-game losing streak they endured earlier this month. Montreal has won four of five since that spell, including last night's 5-4 triumph over rival Toronto at the Bell Centre.

Saku Koivu and Michael Ryder each had a goal and an assist to lead the Habs, while Mike Johnson, Sheldon Souray and Tomas Plekanec also scored in the victory. David Aebischer made a strong contribution between the pipes, as the veteran stopped 32 shots for Montreal.

Monday's win moved the Canadiens past Carolina and into seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings. Montreal has 72 points on the season, one more than the defending Stanley Cup champion Hurricanes.

Souray has now notched a point in six consecutive games, having compiled three goals and three assists during that span.

Montreal, which owns a 14-14-3 record away from home, will start up a five- game road swing this evening.

The Rangers have been headed in the opposite direction as the Canadiens. New York has lost its last three contests and is tied for 11th place in the East, seven points in back of Carolina in the race for the conference's final playoff spot.

The last two defeats have come in front of the home fans, the most recent being a disappointing 3-2 setback to the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

New York built an early 2-0 lead on goals by Blair Betts and Jaromir Jagr, but Columbus drew even with a pair of shorthanded tallies before Rick Nash netted the game-winner late in the second period.

Petr Prucha assisted on Jagr's score and now has three goals and a pair of helpers during a current five-game point streak.

Rangers forward Martin Straka was forced to leave Sunday's game with an upper body injury. The veteran Czech, who is tied for second on the team with 65 points, is questionable to return this evening.

The Rangers will be playing the third test of a season-high six-game homestand tonight. The club has struggled at the Garden throughout the year, however, bringing just a 12-14-4 home mark into tonight's tilt.

New York did win the only previous meeting between these teams in 2006-07, a 4-3 triumph at the Bell Centre on January 6. Montreal won three of its four matchups with the Rangers last season, including both encounters in Manhattan.

02/27 10:45:41 ET


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