MONTREAL -- Up for the Habs this week: The Habs are on the road again and heading for warmer weather. They’ll be kicking things off in Atlanta before making the move to Florida to face the Panthers and the Lighting.
Canadiens @ Thrashers – Tuesday, March 1 @ 7:00pm
With one more matchup against the Thrashers left to go at the end of March, the Canadiens will take their first step towards tying up the season-series on Tuesday night, after having dropped their first two contests with Atlanta 3-0, and 4-3.
While the Canadiens have yet to best the Atlanta squad in 2010-11, they’ll be hoping to take advantage of a Thrashers team that’s been stuck in neutral after a hot start to the year, having posted only two wins in 11 games in the month of February.
The Canadiens will be looking to capitalize on their momentum and keep climbing the Eastern Conference rankings following a Saturday night win over Carolina. Tuesday night’s tilt will also pit the Habs’ newest edition, Brent Sopel against his former club in only his second game with the Canadiens since being traded to Montreal last Thursday.
Canadiens @ Panthers – Thursday, March 3 @ 7:30pm
After the bone-chilling cold of the Heritage Classic, the Canadiens will welcome the chance to warm up with the first of two tilts in the Sunshine state.
The Habs last visit with the Panthers marked the final game of a rocky seven-game holiday season road-trip. The win against the Florida squad was considered by many a turning point for the Canadiens who would also go on to topple the Panthers 3-2 Feb. 2 at the Bell Centre.
The Canadiens’ defense will be looking to keep the slumping Florida offense off the scoresheet with the Panthers having only lit the lamp five times in their last four games. Their top offensive weapons, Stephen Weiss, Mike Santorelli and David Booth have all been held goalless in their last three outings.
Canadiens @ Lightning – Saturday, March 5 @ 7:00pm
The Habs will wrap up their southern-swing by seeking out some redemption against a Tampa Bay team that has stymied them in both of their meetings so far this season.
The matchup against Guy Boucher and the Lightning, who remain one of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference, will represent a hefty challenge for Jacques Martin and his troops who were held to a single goal during their last visit to the St. Pete Times Forum.
Look for the Habs to pay special attention to Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos who have combined for five goals against Montreal this year with Stamkos enjoying a four-point night during their Dec. 30 encounter.Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
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