GAME: Montreal Canadiens (22-16-5-2) at Atlanta Thrashers (19-19-4-2).
TIME: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Back home after a miserable road trip, the Atlanta Thrashers hope to avoid
dropping below .500 for the first time this season as they host the Montreal
The Thrashers are winless in their last seven games (0-5-1-1), including a
1-1 tie against Brian Boucher and the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday.
While Randy Robitaille's slap shot ended Boucher's phenomenal string of five
consecutive shutouts at 6:16 of the first period, the Thrashers ended their
five-game road trip at 0-3-2.
Byron Dafoe made 40 saves as the Coyotes outshot the sluggish Thrashers
"We played yesterday so the guys were a little weary in the third period,"
Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said, "and we did a good job just holding on at
least for one point."
The Thrashers have an opportunity to pile up some points with seven of their
next 10 games at home, but they might have a hard time starting the stretch off
on a good note against the Canadiens.
Including two losses this season, Atlanta is just 3-13-2 all-time against
Montreal, including a 1-6-2-0 mark at Philips Arena.
The Canadiens have won five of six, including a 5-2 win over the St. Louis
Blues on Tuesday. Mike Ribeiro and Jan Bulis each had a goal and an assist, and
Saku Koivu also had two points for Montreal.
The Canadiens have won six of eight (6-1-1), including an 8-0 victory over
Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Mathieu Garon, Jose Theodore's backup, made 16 saves in his ninth start of
the season, and his first since a 3-2 loss in Washington on Dec. 23.
"It was a different team," Garon said. "Defensively, I think we're
playing great and we're not giving much, so it's easier for the goalie,
especially with the great offense we had tonight."
Ribeiro scored his 10th goal of the season to tie it at 1-1 midway through
the first period, and assisted on Richard Zednik's go-ahead goal 3:44 into the
second. Ribeiro leads the Canadiens with 35 points in 44 games.
"It seems that whenever we need the break right now, it's going our way,
and it's fun," said Koivu, who had two assists. "We've gone through some
tough times in the last couple of years here so it's fun to have things going