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Preds set for rare meeting with Habs

by Magalie Lafreni?re
PREDATORS (7-6-3) at CANADIENS (12-5-1)

TV -- RDS (HD), FS-TN (HD)

Last 10 -- Nashville 4-6-0; Montreal 7-3-0.

Season series -- This is the only meeting of the season between the two clubs. The Predators shut out the Canadiens in a 2-0 win in Nashville in last season's only meeting. Steve Sullivan scored both goals, while Carey Price made 53 saves.

Big story -- Thursday marks the return of Sergei Kostitsyn to the Bell Centre since the left wing was traded to the Predators last June for Dustin Boyd and the rights to goaltender Dan Ellis.  It will be the first time that Kostitsyn and his brother, Habs forward Andrei Kostitsyn, face each other in an NHL game. It will also be Nashville defenseman Francis Boullion's first time back in Montreal. Bouillon suited up for the Canadiens over a span of nine seasons.

Team Scope:

Predators -- The Preds had a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period on Tuesday and with a Marcel Goc shorty at the beginning of the second, things were looking good. But the Maple Leafs came storming back, scoring four straight power-play goals in the second to take a 5-4 victory.

J-P Dumont, Jordin Tootoo and Martin Erat scored the first-period tallies, while Pekka Rinne made 28 saves.

"We gave them momentum by taking penalty after penalty after penalty," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "When are we going to learn? You have a team down and out, you have them on the floor gasping for air and you let them off the mat. We stopped working, we stopped skating and therefore you take penalties.

"We deserved exactly what we got in the end."

Canadiens -- The Habs recorded their fourth straight victory on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over the Flyers. Price made 41 saves in his third shutout of the season.

Brian Gionta scored a power-play goal and added two assists, while Tomas Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri rounded out the count.

"It started from the puck drop," said defenseman P.K. Subban of Price, who was named the NHL's most recent first star of the week. "He made some really good saves in the first period to keep us in it and he gave us an opportunity and we took the lead so we just kept on building after that, but he stood on his head. He made timely saves and he’s playing well right now."

Who's hot -- Besides Price, who is tied for second in the lead with 11 wins, Plekanec is riding a five-game point streak with 10 points and Gionta also has a five-game point streak with eight points. For the Predators, Cal O'Reilly has nine points in nine road games thus far this season,

Injury report -- Montreal is without defenseman Andrei Markov who re-injured his surgically repaired knee against the Hurricanes Saturday. Jeff Halpern left Tuesday's game after being hit into the boards and hitting his head on the ice, but he is expected to play against the Predators. Nashville centre Matthew Lombardi is out with a concussion.

Stat pack -- Dumont, a native of Montreal, has 9 goals and 15 assists in 31 career games against his childhood team.

Puck drop -- "It's always the next step that you have to look forward to. We can savor this one tonight, but then tomorrow we start preparing for the next one." -- Canadiens goalie Carey Price after the Habs' 3-0 win over the Flyers

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