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Game preview: MTL vs. CGY

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

CANADIENS (29-21-6) vs. FLAMES (21-27-7)

On Tuesday night, the Canadiens will attempt to extinguish the Calgary Flames at the Bell Centre.

The Habs are looking to rebound from a 2-1 loss against the Winnipeg Jets on Superbowl Sunday. After a scoreless first period, Tobias Enstrom put the visiting Jets in the lead with his sixth goal of the season. Later in the second frame, Brian Gionta tied the score with a flawless wrister from the slot off of a Tomas Plekanec feed. Unfortunately, Winnipeg completed the scoring one minute into the final period when Andrew Ladd forced a turnover and set up a wide-open Michael Frolik. The Jets’ Al Montoya made 30 saves on 31 shots for the win, while Carey Price put up a 0.943 save percentage (33 saves on 35 shots) in the loss.

Calgary last took to the ice on Saturday night, when they defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-3 in overtime. Calgary jumped to a 3-1 lead thanks to goals from T.J. Galiardi, Dennis Wideman and Mikael Backlund. However, Dany Heatley pulled the Wild within one midway through the third and then set up Keith Ballard five minutes later to force overtime. Mikael Backlund proved to be the overtime hero, scoring for the second time of the game to give his team the win. Flames goaltender Karri Ramo started the game, but left late in the first period due to an injury. Reto Berra replaced him and made 14 saves on 17 shots for the win.

With only 132 goals created in 55 games, the Flames rank 29th in the NHL in terms of team offense. However, Calgary is running hot in the past five games. In that span, the team is undefeated and has scored three goals or more during each game. 19 year-old Sean Monahan leads the team in goals with 15, while Jiri Hudler is Calgary’s top scorer with 42 points in 55 games. Former Hab Mike Cammalleri has had his season marred by injuries, but is now healthy and has 21 points in 38 games.

On Tuesday, the Flames will have to do without Curtis Glencross and Karri Ramo, who are both on injured reserve. Defenseman Kris Russell is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and may play against Montreal.

Dale Weise, acquired from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Raphael Diaz, practiced with the Canadiens on Tuesday and may make his Habs debut against the Flames. In the absence of Travis Moen, out with a lower-body injury, Weise skated alongside Michael Bournival and Ryan White on Tuesday morning.

The Canadiens dropped its four previous match-ups against Calgary, and has not prevailed against the Albertans at the Bell Centre since January 17 2011. On that day, P.K. Subban was the overtime hero as Montreal took the game 5-4 after coughing up a 4-0 lead.

Puck drop will be at 7:30 PM E.S.T.

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