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Stars-Canadiens Preview @NHLdotcom
Stars-Canadiens Preview

GAME: Dallas Stars (30-12-2) at Montreal Canadiens (20-16-6).

TIME: Monday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The Dallas Stars will meet a familiar face when they visit the Montreal Canadiens.

Former Stars coach Bob Gainey will try to repeat his success in his debut as the Canadiens bench boss after taking over Saturday for the fired Claude Julien.

Gainey let Julien go before the Canadiens' game with the San Jose Sharks and appointed himself replacement.

Gainey became head coach of the former Minnesota North Stars in 1990 and was coach and general manager for the Stars from 1992-96. He remained Dallas' GM until 2002 - winning a Stanley Cup in 1999.

Before Saturday's game against San Jose, Gainey said a coaching change was needed to get some of the team's best players - particularly goalie Jose Theodore and defensemen Sheldon Souray and Andrei Markov - to play better.

Markov responded, recording four points in the Canadiens six-goal second period en route to a 6-2 win over the Sharks. Montreal had not scored six goals in a period since it scored six in the first period on Dec. 17, 1992 over the Quebec Nordiques.

Markov had two goals and two assists in the second, which were the most points by a Canadiens defenseman in one period since Jean-Claude Tremblay had four second-period assists Dec. 29, 1962 against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Canadiens converted four of five power-play opportunities in the second period after only scoring one power-play goal in their last 21 opportunities.

Rookie defenseman Mark Streit scored his first NHL goal and added an assist, both points coming on the power play.

"It's a big relief," Streit said. "It's an awesome feeling. It's obviously like a dream come true for me and I'm very happy about the big win tonight. It was a very big win and now we can build on that."

The Canadiens are 2-5 in their last seven games, and have not defeated the Stars since March 4, 1998, going 0-5-3 in their last eight meetings.

The Stars are outscoring their opponents 19-10 during their six-game win steak, and have reached the 30-win mark in just their 44th game of the season, the quickest they've reached that mark in team history.

Dallas improved to 5-0 in shootouts with a 2-1 shootout victory Saturday over the Boston Bruins.

Rookie Jussi Jokinen scored the shootout's only goal, and is a perfect 5-for-5 in shootout chances this season.

Sergei Zubov scored Dallas' only regulation goal off a pass from Mike Modano. Zubov has a career best nine-game point streak, with two goals and 11 assists during that span, while Modano has six assists in the last four games.

Goaltender Marty Turco made 26 saves against the Bruins, and has won two straight games after having two of his worst performances of the season. Turco was pulled in back-to-back games allowing six goals on 23 shots in those games, but has since allowed just two goals in his last two starts.

STANDINGS: Stars - 62 points, 1st place, Pacific Division. Canadiens - 46 points, 4th place, 17 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Stars - Jere Lehtinen, 24 goals; Modano and Zubov, 30 assists; Modano, 46 points; Steve Ott, 95 PIM. Canadiens - Michael Ryder, 18 goals; Saku Koivu, 22 assists and 31 points; Steve Begin, 93 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Stars - Power play: 16.1 percent (46 for 286), 20th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent (235 for 277), 7th. Canadiens - Power play: 18.5 percent (46 for 249), 11th. Penalty killing: 81.5 percent (216 for 265), 18th.

GOALTENDERS: Stars - Turco (22-11-2, 3 SO, 2.48 GAA); Johan Hedberg (8-1-0, 0, 2.58). Canadiens - Theodore (15-11-5, 0, 3.18); Cristobal Huet (2-3-1, 0, 2.97).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Tied, 0-0-1.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 31, 2003; 1-1 tie. At Dallas, Niklas Sundstrom's goal with one minute left in regulation lifted Montreal into a tie.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Stars - 16-4-1 on the road; Canadiens - 13-6-2 at home.

Associated Press
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