GAME: Atlanta Thrashers (22-30-6-2) at Montreal Canadiens (28-23-6-2).
TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Sheldon Souray's All-Star season has been interrupted. The Montreal
Canadiens hope that doesn't impact their playoff push.
After learning they will be without their top defenseman for six weeks, the
Canadiens will try to snap a three-game losing streak when they host the
struggling Atlanta Thrashers.
Montreal will have to make do without Souray, who sprained a ligament in his
left knee Tuesday - two days after making his first All-Star game appearance -
when he collided with Florida's Juraj Kolnik.
"It's going to be a long time," Canadiens defenseman Stephane Quintal
said. "So far, it seems like we miss him on the power play. The (defensemen)
that we have now, we have to play a little better."
Souray, who had an assist in the Eastern Conference's 6-4 win on Feb. 8 in
St. Paul, Minn., has 15 goals and 20 assists - both career highs - in 57 games
The Canadiens lost 5-2 to Ottawa on Saturday, and are now tied with the New
York Islanders for seventh place in the Eastern Conference, four points ahead
of Buffalo with 23 games to play.
Steve Begin scored twice for the Canadiens, but goalie Jose Theodore, who
stopped 21 of 25 shots, was replaced by backup Mathieu Garon at 6:46 of the
"He knows it wasn't his night, we all know it wasn't his night, but for
what Jose's done for us this year, a goaltender is allowed to have a bad game
like any other player," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. "We have to
accept this defeat as a team and not necessarily point the finger at Jose."
Atlanta lost 7-2 to Buffalo on Monday, and has just one win in its last 12
The Thrashers have lost seven of eight, and have given up at least four
goals in each loss. The lone exception during that stretch was a 4-1 win at
Vancouver on Friday.
"If I could pinpoint what was going wrong, I would stop it," Atlanta
center Marc Savard said. "It's a tough thing right now."
Starter Pasi Nurminen allowed three goals on 16 shots, and was pulled
shortly after Ales Kotalik scored six minutes into the second period. Byron
Dafoe took over and allowed four goals on 19 shots.
Ilya Kovalchuk (team-high 30th goal) and Randy Robitaille scored power-play
goals for Atlanta, which has not won consecutive road games since March 2003.
Thrashers forward Slava Kozlov missed his first game of the season with a
strained shoulder, and returned to Atlanta for evaluation. He is expected to
miss the final three games of this seven-game road trip.