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Canadiens-Canucks Preview @NHLdotcom
Canadiens-Canucks Preview

GAME: Montreal Canadiens (21-17-6) at Vancouver Canucks (27-15-5).

TIME: Saturday, 10 p.m. EST.

On the cusp of a season-high road trip, the Vancouver Canucks have one more team to take care of at home.

Vancouver looks to extend its unbeaten streak against the Montreal Canadiens to nine games when they meet for the only time this season.

The Canucks, winners of three straight and six of their last seven, begin a seven-game road trip Monday against St. Louis and don't play again at home until a matchup with Columbus on Feb. 6.

Vancouver is tied with Calgary atop the Northwest Division with 59 points, but is 10-12-2 on the road this season, the worst away record in the NHL among division leaders.

In the Canucks' 4-1 win over Buffalo on Thursday, Alex Burrows scored a short-handed goal in the second period and Nolan Baumgartner tallied the game-winner early in the third.

"I kind of got a lucky bounce off the glass and it just stayed beside the net, and I got a couple of whacks at it and it finally went in," said Burrows, who has two goals and two assists in nine games this season.

Brendan Morrison and Jarkko Ruutu added insurance goals to back goaltender Alex Auld, who made 24 saves for his 19th win of the season.

"I didn't have a lot of work until the end but that's part of the challenge, staying sharp and knowing the next save could be the big one because it was a tight game until the very end," said Auld, who stopped all nine Buffalo shots in the final period.

Leading scorer Markus Naslund assisted on Morrison's goal and has four assists during a three-game point streak. He has eight goals and two assists in his last nine games against the Canadiens.

The Canucks have seven wins and a tie in the last eight matchups in this series, and haven't lost to Montreal since a 4-3 defeat on Nov. 30, 2000.

The Canadiens began their six-game road trip with a 3-2 loss to Calgary on Thursday, and have dropped 14 of their last 15 away from home.

Thursday's defeat was interim coach Bob Gainey's first in three games since taking over for the fired Claude Julien.

"We lost our rhythm and we lost our cohesiveness in the second period, which didn't make us very effective either at attacking or defending," Gainey said.

Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev had goals for Montreal, which began the season 6-0-1 on the road.

The Canadiens also play division leaders Carolina, Philadelphia and Ottawa before wrapping up the trip in Toronto on Jan. 28.

STANDINGS: Canadiens - 48 points, 4th place, 18 PB, Northeast Division. Canucks - 59 points, 1st place (tied), Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canadiens - Michael Ryder, 19 goals; Koivu and Andrei Markov, 23 assists; Koivu, 34 points; Steve Begin, 93 PIM. Canucks - Naslund, 22 goals and 51 points; Henrik Sedin, 31 assists; Todd Bertuzzi, 78 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 19): Canadiens - Power play: 19.2 percent (50 for 261), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.4 percent (224 for 275), 19th. Canucks - Power play: 19.5 percent (61 for 313), 7th. Penalty killing: 81.7 percent (237 for 290), 17th.

GOALTENDERS: Canadiens - Jose Theodore (16-12-5, 3.14 GAA); Cristobal Huet (2-3-1, 2.97). Canucks - Auld (19-11-3, 2.73); Maxime Ouellet (0-1-1, 4.39).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Canucks, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 25, 2003; Canucks, 5-2. At Montreal, Naslund had two goals and an assist for Vancouver.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canadiens - 7-11-4 on the road; Canucks - 17-3-3 at home.

Associated Press

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