NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, January 8th
(All times eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (19-19-3) at Montreal Canadiens (20-13-8), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A pair of Original Six franchises will tangle tonight in
Montreal, as the Chicago Blackhawks visit the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
The Canadiens, who will celebrate their centennial next season, are honoring
82 seasons of the rivalry between the Habs and Blackhawks with a pre-game
ceremony before tonight's game. Former Montreal greats such as Guy Lafleur and
Henri Richard will be in attendance as will Chicago hockey legends Bobby Hull,
Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito.
According to Canadiens' stat keepers, Montreal leads the all-time regular
season battle against the Blackhawks, as the Habs are 299-148 with 103 ties
Tonight marks Chicago's first stop in Montreal since February 1, 2004, when
the Canadiens notched a 6-4 decision. The Habs have won five of the last seven
The Blackhawks come into tonight's contest in the midst of a five-game losing
streak, the club's longest slide of the year. Chicago's last six-game slide
came from March 16-28 of last season.
Chicago's latest setback came Sunday against visiting Detroit in a more common
example of an Original Six rivalry. Chris Osgood made 19 saves as the Red
Wings knocked off their divisional foe by a 3-1 count at the United Center.
Rene Bourque scored the lone goal while Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 25 shots in
the loss for the Blackhawks.
Chicago's slide has a great deal to do with injuries as the team is currently
without a handful of regulars, including exciting rookie centerman Jonathan
Toews (knee) and defensemen Brent Sopel (broken finger) and James Wisniewski
The Blackhawks are just 7-9-2 as the visiting team this year and have lost
three straight and seven of their previous eight road tilts.
Montreal is also coming off a setback as it dropped a close home game against
Washington on Saturday. Mike Green scored the overtime winner to lift the
Capitals to the 5-4 decision at the Bell Centre.
Tomas Plekanec notched a goal and two assists for Montreal, which has still
earned at least a point in five straight games (3-0-2). Alexei Kovalev chipped
in a goal and an assist, while Carey Price stopped 24 shots in defeat.
Montreal is completing a three-game homestand tonight and has a disappointing
7-7-5 record in front of its rabid fans. The Habs will then kick off a four-
game road trip Thursday evening in Boston.
01/08 11:04:55 ET