After winning for the first time in one of the NHL's three eastern Canadian cities, the Columbus Blue Jackets look for another in the one where they've had the most success.
The Blue Jackets will try to secure a winning road trip when they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night for the first time since 2003.
Columbus (28-26-9) avoided a third-straight loss with a 3-2 shootout victory at Ottawa on Thursday night to improve to 2-2-0 on its five-game road trip. The win - just the Blue Jackets' third in their last 12 games - was the club's first victory in four tries at Scotiabank Place.
|The Blue Jackets seek to stay on their feet tonight when they travel to Montreal for the first time since 2003. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)
On Saturday, the Blue Jackets, who are 12th in the Western Conference, will try for their third win in five trips to Montreal's Bell Centre. Columbus is 0-3-0 with a tie at Toronto after losing 3-1 to the Maple Leafs on Tuesday.
Though Columbus lost 3-2 at home to Montreal on Feb. 18, 2007 in the teams' most recent meeting, the Blue Jackets haven't visited Montreal since a 1-1 tie on Nov. 11, 2003.
"I'm looking forward to that new schedule that they're talking about playing a home-and-home with everybody," said Columbus' Rick Nash, who scored his team-leading 32nd goal and also had the winner in the shootout on Thursday. "I think that's important for all the fans and for all the teams to see each other once (at home).
"For Canadian kids, it's always fun coming to cities like these."
Nash, a native of Brampton, Ontario, has three goals in his last four contests and scored his only goal in three games against the Canadiens in the teams' most recent meeting in Montreal.
Pascal Leclaire made 27 saves to avoid a third straight loss after allowing eight goals in his previous two starts. Leclaire made 25 saves in the Blue Jackets' most recent loss to Montreal.
Columbus, which is 12-17-3 on the road, hasn't won consecutive games away from home since recording a victory at Dallas on Jan. 22 and at Chicago on two days later.
While Columbus is fighting for a playoff spot in the crowded Western Conference, Montreal (33-20-9) is fifth in the East and just one point behind first-place Ottawa in the Northeast Division.
The Canadiens, though, look to bounce back after having their four-game winning streak snapped in a 5-4 home loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday.
Despite rallying from two goals down to take a 4-3 lead in the third period, Montreal allowed two goals in 36 minutes to drop its first game since coming from five goals down for a 6-5 shootout win over the New York Rangers on Tuesday.
"The team wasn't focused enough to get the two points," said Montreal's Saku Koivu, who had a goal and an assist. "At this point of the season you're going to see more individual battles and matchups. The bottom line is we didn't get the job done I think it was more the mental part of the game, not the physical."
Koivu, who has two goals and two assists in his last three games, had a goal and an assist in last season's meeting with Columbus.