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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, December 27th (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (17-13-6) at Tampa Bay Lightning (15-19-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will resume their longest road trip of the season when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at St. Pete Times Forum.

The Canadiens are 1-1-1 so far on the six-game swing and have lost their last two games. Montreal was handed its most recent setback Sunday night in Dallas as the Stars posted a 4-1 decision over the visitors. Mike Ribeiro paced the Stars with a goal and two assists at American Airlines Center.

Andrei Markov provided the offense for the Canadiens, who have lost three of their last four games. Carey Price allowed four goals on 21 shots in defeat.

Montreal is 11-6-2 as the visiting club, but has dropped two straight road games for the first time this season.

The Lightning, meanwhile, will try to avoid their third straight loss when they take the ice tonight.

Tampa Bay visited the Washington Capitals on Wednesday and dropped a 3-2 decision. David Steckel had a goal and two assists and Matt Bradley's late third-period tally helped the Caps down the Lightning, 3-2, at the Verizon Center.

Bradley broke a 2-2 tie with 2:53 left in the third. Steckel's shot from the middle of the ice deflected off the stick of Tampa Bay defenseman Filip Kuba, then off the blocker of Karri Ramo. The puck popped high in the air and fell down in behind Ramo. Bradley, while crashing the net, knocked in the rebound. The goal was reviewed and eventually upheld.

Vincent Lecavalier lit the lamp twice for the Lightning, who have dropped five of six and 13 of their last 18 contests. Vaclav Prospal recorded two assists and Ramo allowed three goals on 32 shots.

Lecavalier is currently leading the NHL with 55 points and is tied for second in the league with 25 goals.

Tonight marks the first of two straight at home for the Lightning, who are 12-6-2 as the host this season. However, Tampa has dropped four of its last five tilts at the Forum.

The Lightning won in Montreal on December 11 and have taken two of the last three encounters. However, the Canadiens have taken six of the last nine meetings and have earned wins in four of their previous six stops in Tampa.

12/27 10:57:33 ET

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