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Habs' home struggles go up against Jets' road woes

by Arpon Basu
MONTREAL -- Something will have to give Wednesday night when one of the League's worst home teams faces one of the League's worst on the road at the Bell Centre.

The Montreal Canadiens have a League-low five wins in 18 games on home ice (5-7-6), which is a big reason why they sit 13th in the 15-team Eastern Conference.

Montreal is coming off a 1-5-0 road trip and this will be interim coach Randy Cunneyworth's second game at the Bell Centre since he was named to replace Jacques Martin on Dec. 17. The Canadiens play six of their next seven and 11 of their next 15 games at home.

"We didn't get the wins we needed on the road," Cunneyworth told reporters at the team's suburban practice facility. "It's time to start winning at home."

Meanwhile, the visiting Winnipeg Jets enter the game as one of the League's worst road teams, with just five wins in 17 games (5-8-4). Only Carolina, Anaheim and Columbus have fewer wins on opposing rinks, and this game marks the first in a stretch where the Jets will play 14 of their next 19 games on the road.

However, forward Eric Fehr believes that road record is a bit misleading because the bulk of those games were played prior to December, when the Jets played 12 of 14 games at home and went 10-3-1 to get themselves back in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

"It's not as accurate as it looks," Fehr said of the Jets' road record. "We didn't get off to the start we wanted, we were getting adjusted to a new coach and a new city, but that's when we had a lot of those road games. We're a different team now with a different identity."

Head coach Claude Noel -- who gave a statement in French prior to speaking to local reporters -- agreed with Fehr's assessment of the situation.

"We're becoming a team that's hard to play against," Noel said. "Some people look at that from a physicality standpoint, but I'd say we're becoming a hard team to play against from a checking standpoint. …We play a good, strong game for each other. I like the way we're playing."

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