NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 8th
(All times eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (37-22-9) at Los Angeles Kings (27-27-5), 4 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Northeast Division-leading Montreal Canadiens will aim
for their fifth victory in six games today, when they visit the lowly Los
Angeles Kings for a matinee at the Staples Center.
The Canadiens have 83 points on the year and are two ahead of Ottawa for the
top spot in the Northeast. Montreal is also a point behind New Jersey for the
No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Devils are playing in Toronto
tonight, while the Senators are visiting Phoenix.
Montreal is 1-1 so far on a four-game West Coast swing, as it lost to San Jose
on Monday before posting a win Thursday at Phoenix. The Canadiens have an
impressive 21-10-4 road record this year and will complete this current trek
with stops in Los Angeles and Anaheim.
In Thursday's game, Andrei Markov broke a deadlock midway through the third
period, and the Canadiens went on to beat the Coyotes, 4-2, at Jobing.com
Phoenix has lost six games and tied three others against the Canadiens since a
4-2 victory over the Habs on December 9, 1998. This was the first meeting
between the teams since Phoenix lost 5-2 at Montreal on December. 13, 2005.
Tomas Plekanec, Saku Koivu and Sergei Kostitsyn all tallied for Montreal,
which has won eight of its last 11 contests.
Alex Kovalev added three assists, Chris Higgins had a pair of helpers and
Carey Price stopped 37-of-39 shots for the Canadiens.
The Kings, meanwhile, are last in the Western Conference and NHL with 59
points on the season.
However, LA is coming off a victory as it defeated visiting Ottawa on Thursday
to snap a five-game losing streak. Erik Ersberg stopped 40 shots -- posting
his first career win, and a shutout in just his third career start -- as the
Kings beat the Senators, 2-0, at Staples Center.
Alex Frolov and Patrick O'Sullivan tallied for the Kings, who have won just
twice in their last nine games.
LA had just one point on a recently completed four-game road trip, but
continued its domination at home against the Senators. Ottawa's lone win at
Los Angeles came January 11, 2000, in a 4-3 victory.
In injury news, the Kings learned Wednesday that starting goaltender Jason
LaBarbera, sidelined since February 18, will miss the rest of the season after
undergoing sports hernia surgery. Veteran Dan Cloutier and the Swedish rookie
Ersberg will continue to share netminding duties.
The Kings are 15-17-2 as the host team and are playing the middle test of a
three-game homestand today. LA, which will end its residency Monday against
Vancouver, has won six of its last nine at home.
Tonight's game is the first meeting between the Habs and Kings since December
3, 2005. Montreal has won two straight, four of five and eight of the last 11
tests in the series. The Canadiens have also taken three of their last five
games in the City of Angels.
03/08 10:33:07 ET