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Canadiens-Lightning Preview @NHLdotcom
Canadiens-Lightning Preview

GAME: Montreal Canadiens (17-11-6) at Tampa Bay Lightning (19-15-3).

TIME: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The last time the vaunted Montreal Canadiens were mired in a road losing streak this long, the crosstown-rival Maroons finished the season with a better record.

The Canadiens will try to avoid matching a nearly 80-year-old mark and snap a nine-game road skid when they continue their year-end road swing against the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

Montreal's road skid reached nine games Monday after the Canadiens fell 4-0 to rookie goaltender Michael Garnett, who posted his consecutive shutout for the Atlanta Thrashers.

The Canadiens were 6-1 on the road after a 3-2 win on Nov. 4 against the Buffalo Sabres. Since then, Montreal has been outscored 36-16 and gone 4-for-43 on the power play in its first nine-game road slide since Feb. 27-April 1, 1995.

Montreal has not lost 10 straight road contests since Jan. 16-March 13, 1926.

The Canadiens are 1-2-2 in their last five games at Tampa since a 5-1 win on Jan. 19, 2002.

Tampa Bay needed overtime to snap a four-game losing streak Monday, 5-4 over the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes.

Defenseman Dan Boyle scored his 10th goal with 33.6 seconds in overtime, eclipsing the nine goals he had in 78 games in 2003-04. Boyle enters this game with assists in each of his last three contests versus Montreal.

Lightning captain and 22-year veteran Dave Andreychuk is coming off his second two-goal game of the season.

Andreychuk has four goals in eight games after not scoring one in 18 straight. He has 640 goals during his career.

"Obviously I've been frustrated most of the year," Andreychuk said. "I want to continue to try to do what I have to do to make this team win. They're going to need goals from me. I have to contribute. I have to get better."

Andreychuk - a first-round pick by the Sabres in 1982 - has 23 career goals against the Canadiens.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 27): Canadiens - 40 points, 4th place, 13 PB, Northeast Division. Lightning - 41 points, 2nd place, 8 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canadiens - Michael Ryder, 16 goals; Saku Koivu, 19 assists and 27 points; Steve Begin, 85 PIM. Lightning - Fredrik Modin, 17 goals; Brad Richards, 29 assists; Vaclav Prospal, 42 points; Pavel Kubina, 54 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 27): Canadiens - Power play: 18 percent (39 for 217), tied for 14th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.6 percent (183 for 227), 25th. Lightning - Power play: 15.2 percent (35 for 230), tied for 23rd. Penalty killing: 81.4 percent (153 for 188), 21st.

GOALTENDERS: Canadiens - Jose Theodore (13-7-5, 0 SO, 3.06 GAA); Cristobal Huet (1-2-1, 0, 3.67). Lightning - John Grahame (15-12-1, 1, 2.90); Sean Burke (4-2-2, 0, 2.99).

SEASON SERIES: Canadiens, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 8; Canadiens, 3-2. At Montreal, Craig Rivet and Richard Zednik both scored in the final period as the Canadiens rallied to beat Tampa Bay.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canadiens - 6-6-4 on the road; Lightning - 11-7-1 at home.

Associated Press
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