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Canadiens-Thrashers Preview @NHL

Playing in Montreal has been a struggle for the Atlanta Thrashers, but they've been just as bad against the Canadiens on home ice.

The Thrashers (26-14-8) look to win their first game in three tries against the Canadiens (25-17-5) when their season series shifts to Atlanta on Thursday night.

Atlanta has dropped each of its two matchups with the Canadiens in 2006-07. Both games were in Montreal, where the Thrashers are 4-9-1 all-time.

Atlanta has been strong at Philips Arena this season, going 14-9-4, but it's 2-8-2 at home against Montreal. The Thrashes have been terrible with the man advantage on home ice against the Canadiens, converting 10.7 percent (6-for-56) of their chances.

Atlanta's Marian Hossa ranks among the NHL leaders with 29 goals and 61 points, but he's had little success against Montreal in recent years, recording three assists and no goals in his last 10 games against the Canadiens.

Hossa, though, is coming off his second hat trick of the season Tuesday night, leading the Thrashers to a 6-2 win over Los Angeles.

It was the sixth career three-goal game for Hossa, who has 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in his last 14 games.

Atlanta's previous five games had been decided by two goals or less.

"It's kind of fun winning with a big margin, rather than by one or two goals," Thrashers goaltender Kari Lehtonen said. "We've been playing very well the last few weeks, but there's always been one bad period."

Montreal has lost three straight, nine of 13 and hasn't scored a goal in two consecutive games.

The lack of offense drew a chorus of boos from the sellout crowd at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night during the Canadiens' 4-0 defeat to Vancouver.

Montreal has been outscored 14-3 during its three-game skid and has failed to score an even-strength goal in nine of the last 10 periods.

Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau shuffled his forward lines against the Canucks and finally lost patience with struggling winger Sergei Samsonov, scratching him from the lineup for the first time this season.

"Nothing's working for us right now and I had to do something to turn this around," Carbonneau said. "Those are the decisions I made and they didn't work. But we'll continue making decisions and we'll get out of this, that's for sure."

Saku Koivu, tied with Sheldon Souray for the Canadiens lead with 15 goals, has gone 10 straight games without scoring. He has just two goals in 17 games against Atlanta.

Canadiens center Radek Bonk returned from a neck injury Tuesday that forced him to sit out five games.

Montreal defenseman Craig Rivet, meanwhile, was a healthy scratch for the first time this season, ending his streak of 153 consecutive games played. He was replaced by Janne Niinimaa.

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