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Canucks continue homestand against Habs

by Adam Kimelman /
CANADIENS (31-22-7) at CANUCKS (38-13-9)

TV -- RDS (HD), SNET-P (HD)        

Last 10 -- Montreal 4-4-2; Vancouver 7-3-0.

Season series -- This is the second of two meetings between the teams this season. On Nov. 9, Carey Price stopped all 34 shots he faced and Andrei Markov and Roman Hamrlik supplied the offense in a 2-0 Canadiens victory in Montreal.
Big story -- The Canucks have alternated wins and losses in their last six games, allowing the Red Wings to take a big bite out of their Western Conference lead, which is down to five points. They beat the skidding Stars 5-2 Saturday to start a six-game homestand.
Stringing a few wins together would do the Canadiens some good, too, as they've won just of their last seven games to fall four points behind Boston in the Northeast Division race.
Team Scope:

Canadiens -- Montreal thought it was in perfect position Sunday at the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic. They trailed 1-0 after one period, but came out full throttle in the second period and it earned them an early power play when Jay Bouwmeester was whistled for interference.
Instead, the Flames snatched the momentum skating a man down and capitalized on Anton Babchuk's shorthanded goal. The Flames cruised to a 4-0 win and the Canadiens fell to 1-4-2 in their last seven.

"We played really well that first half of that second period," said Price. "When they got that shorthanded goal, that was tough to swallow and they just kept going after that."
Canucks -- Another season, another Sedin atop the NHL scoring race.
This time, it's Daniel, who had 2 goals and an assist to give him 77 points, two more than the Lightning's Steven Stamkos. Last season, his twin brother Henrik finished with a League-best 112 points.
But if you think Daniel is making room in his trophy case for the Art Ross Trophy, well, you'd be wrong.
"Right now, it doesn't mean much," Sedin told the Vancouver Sun. "We'll keep playing and see what happens, but it's nothing I skate around thinking about too much."

Who's hot -- Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty hasn't been playing like a rookie recently, with 7 goals and 13 points in his last 13 games. … While his brother leads the League in scoring, Henrik Sedin isn't doing too badly, either. In his last eight games, he has 3 goals and 10 points.
Injury report -- Canadiens defenseman Jaroslav Spacek has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury fellow blueliner Hal Gill has missed the last four with an upper-body injury, and both are questionable for Tuesday. Forward Michael Cammalleri is continuing to work his way back from a shoulder injury suffered Jan. 18. … The Canucks won't be getting any of their five missing blueliners -- Andrew Alberts (wrist), Alexander Edler (back), Dan Hamhuis (concussion), Keith Ballard (knee) and Kevin Bieksa (foot) -- back any time soon.
Stat pack -- One of the biggest reasons the Canucks have the most points in the League is their special-teams play. They entered the week with the League's best power play (25.0 percent) and fourth-best penalty killing (85.5 percent).
Puck drop -- The headline players on the Canucks -- the Sedins, Ryan Kesler, Roberto Luongo -- draw the lion's share of the attention, but even those players know just how important the team's third line of Manny Malhotra, Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen is to future success.
Torres broke a 23-game goal drought by scoring twice Saturday against Dallas, and the trio combined to finish a plus-6 in the 5-2 win against the Stars.
"If you are going to go a long way, you need those kind of guys to contribute and get big goals and play physical," Daniel Sedin told the Vancouver Sun. "So it's huge for us."

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