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Canadiens-Bruins Preview @NHLdotcom
Canadiens-Bruins Preview

GAME: Montreal Canadiens (23-21-6) at Boston Bruins (22-22-8).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Montreal Canadiens look to rebound from their worst loss of the season, and win back-to-back road games for the first time in three months when they begin a home-and-home series with the Boston Bruins.

Montreal lost for the fifth time in seven games Tuesday with an 8-2 defeat at home to Carolina. It was the Canadiens' worst loss since another 8-2 setback to the Hurricanes on May 13, 2002, when Carolina ousted Montreal in the second round of the playoffs.

The Canadiens will be trying to get on track on the road, where they've lost 17 of their last 20 after beginning the season with six wins in their first seven contests away from home. They haven't won two in a row on the road since Oct. 31-Nov. 4.

Montreal goalie Jose Theodore continued to struggle on Tuesday, allowing five goals on 10 shots before being pulled for the third time in his last four starts. He's allowed 18 goals on 63 shots with a .714 save percentage and 8.41 goals-against average over that span.

"When it's not happening ... it's not the time to get down, it's the time to work twice as hard," Theodore said. "A lot of players go through slumps and I'm going through a slump here."

Theodore is 2-0 with a 2.01 GAA against Boston this season, but the Bruins come into this contest with four wins in their last five games, including a 5-0 victory over the Northeast Division-leading Ottawa Senators on Monday.

In his ninth straight start for Boston, Tim Thomas made 44 saves in recording his first career shutout.

"He's an older guy who's played a lot of hockey in a lot of different leagues," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said of the 31-year-old Thomas, who's appeared in only 15 games in the NHL.

"For him to persevere and be persistent ... is a compliment to his character. He's certainly taken advantage of an opportunity and he's been a key ingredient in us having some success in the last few weeks."

These teams meets again in Montreal on Saturday.

STANDINGS: Canadiens - 52 points, 4th place (tied), 20 PB, Northeast Division. Bruins - 52 points, 4th place (tied), 20 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canadiens - Michael Ryder, 20 goals; Saku Koivu, 24 assists and 38 points; Steve Begin, 95 PIM. Bruins - Marco Sturm, 20 goals; Patrice Bergeron, 28 assists and 44 points; Hal Gill, 72 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Canadiens - Power play: 18.4 percent (53 for 288), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.1 percent (250 for 312), 23rd. Bruins - Power play: 15.4 percent (43 for 279), 24th. Penalty killing: 84.1 percent (265 for 315), 10th.

GOALTENDERS: Canadiens - Theodore (17-15-5, 3.46 GAA); Cristobal Huet (3-4-1, 3.02). Bruins - Thomas (6-1-2, 1 SO, 1.96); Andrew Raycroft (7-16-2, 3.68).

SEASON SERIES: Canadiens, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 18; Canadiens, 4-3. At Montreal, Mike Ribeiro scored 2:02 into the third period to tie it at 3 and Alexander Perezhogin scored just over 7 minutes later to give the Canadiens the win.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canadiens - 9-14-4 on the road; Bruins - 10-10-4 at home.

Associated Press

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