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Canadiens-Bruins Preview

NHL.com @NHL

The Montreal Canadiens are playing their best hockey of the season.

They'll look to extend their season-high five-game winning streak when they visit the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

The Canadiens (21-8-5) beat Philadelphia 4-2 on Thursday and are on their longest winning streak since taking eight in a row from March 23-April 6. Montreal has not lost since a 3-2 shootout defeat to Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo on Dec. 9 and has earned a point in eight straight games, going 6-0-2 over that span.

"Well, of course, it takes just one game. One game, you lose and you start over," defenseman Sheldon Souray said. "But right now, you work hard to get to a certain point, get a certain amount of momentum, and we've got that right now."

Thursday's victory over the Flyers, who own the worst record in the NHL, came two days after a 5-2 win over the Sabres. Montreal is in second place in the East, five points behind Northeast Division-rival Buffalo.

"These points are worth the same as beating Buffalo - two points are two points," said Mike Johnson, who scored Montreal's league-leading 10th short-handed goal Thursday. "I thought we did a pretty good job of coming out prepared and ready for the game. We had enough chances to kind of open the game up early, but their goalie made a lot of big saves to let them stay in the game, and then it became a dogfight."

Montreal has scored three short-handed goals during the winning streak while its power-play unit, which has converted an NHL-leading 23.9 percent of its chances, has accounted for nine goals. Overall, the Canadiens have scored 23 goals in the five wins.

"Still a lot of work that has to be done," Souray said. "We have areas we can certainly improve, but we're going in the right direction, and we're gaining just a bit of confidence and gaining some ground on some teams as we go along."

Montreal's David Aebischer stopped 26 shots Thursday for his 100th career win.

Boston (17-13-2) also got an impressive goaltending performance on Thursday, as Tim Thomas made 39 saves for his second career shutout and the Bruins beat Vancouver 2-0 for their third win in four games. Thomas has won eight of his last 11 starts and owns a 2.96 goals-against average for the season.

"Thomas could have been first, second and third star," coach Dave Lewis said. "He was great, he bailed guys out at the net."

Patrice Bergeron and Glen Murray scored power-play goals for the Bruins, who won despite being outshot 39-19 overall and 14-0 in the third period. Boston was coming off an impressive offensive performance in Tuesday's 7-2 win at Ottawa.

"It's a win, and we'll definitely take the win," Murray told the team's official Web site. "But we can't play like that in the second and third period and win many games."

Boston has lost seven of its last eight against Montreal, including two of three this season.

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