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Habss' 100th-birthday party headlines four-game Friday

Thursday, 12.03.2009 / 11:35 PM / Game Previews

NHL.com

The Montreal Canadiens are holding a big birthday party at the Bell Centre on Friday night. The Boston Bruins would like nothing more than to spoil the festivities.

The Canadiens are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of their franchise before meeting the Bruins for the 701st time in the regular season, the most they've faced any opponent (8 p.m. ET, RDS, CBC, NHL Network-U.S.). The celebration caps the centennial for a franchise that has won 24 Stanley Cups -- 23 since the NHL took control of the Cup in the 1920s.

But the Canadiens haven't had much to celebrate recently -- they've dropped four in a row, including a 6-2 whipping by Buffalo on Thursday. Boston has been playing some of its best hockey of the season, going 6-0-1 in its last seven -- including a 4-1 home win over Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

The Lightning will try to bounce back when they visit New Jersey (7 p.m. ET). The Devils are coming off a rare clunker -- a 5-2 home loss to Vancouver on Wednesday. But they've already beaten Tampa Bay twice this season, both in shootouts on the road.

Also at 8 p.m. ET, the Anaheim Ducks visit Minnesota. The Ducks started a road trip Thursday with a 3-1 loss at Dallas. The improving Wild can get back to .500 with a win. They pulled off one of the season's big comebacks on Anaheim's first trip to the Xcel Energy Center this season, rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the third period to win 4-3 in overtime.

The Chicago Blackhawks hope to continue their winning ways when the Nashville Predators come to the United Center (8:30 p.m. ET). Chicago is 9-1-1 in its last 11 games, including an 11-round shootout win over Columbus on Tuesday. Nashville had won seven in a row before losing three of its last four -- including a 5-4 overtime loss at Minnesota on Wednesday.
Quote of the Day

Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'

— Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on his interest in advanced statistical analysis