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Thrashers-Canadiens Preview @NHL
Thrashers-Canadiens Preview

GAME: Atlanta Thrashers (8-11-1) at Montreal Canadiens (13-5-3).

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

The Atlanta Thrashers have had a very inconsistent season thus far. Facing the Montreal Canadiens historically hasn't been the best way for them to get themselves headed in the right direction.

A pair of teams coming off disappointing performances in their most recent games meet at the Bell Centre.

The Thrashers beat Philadelphia 6-5 in overtime Friday before falling 5-1 on Saturday at Toronto. Fatigue may have been a problem in the Thrashers' second defeat in three games.

"I don't know what was left after last night's game but it's still an unacceptable effort," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said.

Atlanta outscored opponents 19-2 during a three-game winning streak earlier this month, but has since lost two of three, with both losses coming by four goals.

Thrashers center Marc Savard had an assist against Toronto, giving him one goal and 14 assists during a six-game points streak. His 23 assists rank third in the NHL.

Atlanta has lost five of six to Montreal, the lone win coming on Feb. 17, 2004. The Thrashers have against the Canadiens since joining the league in 1999, recording only four wins and 10 points in seven seasons. The four wins is their lowest total against Eastern Conference teams.

The Canadiens followed a 5-3 loss at New Jersey on Friday with a 5-1 home loss to visiting Washington on Saturday.

Montreal, which has dropped four of five, has yet to lose more than two in a row this season.

"We had no emotion in the beginning, well actually, throughout the whole game," Canadiens captain Saku Koivu said. "They got some lucky bounces early on in the game and got the lead, but I think more than anything this has been coming for a while. We've talked for a long time about getting better, being more consistent and doing the little things."

Yann Danis started in goal for Montreal before being replaced by Jose Theodore, who lost at New Jersey, his third straight defeat. Danis gave up four goals on 17 shots for the first loss of his rookie season.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 21): Thrashers - 17 points, 3rd place, 12 PB, Southeast Division. Canadiens - 29 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Thrashers - Ilya Kovalchuk, 14 goals; Savard, 23 assists and 29 points; Eric Boulton, 50 PIM. Canadiens - Michael Ryder, 9 goals; Koivu, 17 assists and 25 points; Steve Begin, 45 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 21): Thrashers - Power play: 23.1 percent (35 for 151), 3rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.8 percent (112 for 142), 27th. Canadiens - Power play: 19.2 percent (26 for 135), 11th. Penalty killing: 80.8 percent (110 for 136), tied for 20th.

GOALTENDERS: Thrashers - Adam Berkhoel (2-4-0, 0 SO, 4.08 GAA); Michael Garnett (1-2-0, 5.21). Canadiens - Theodore (10-4-3, 2.99); Danis (3-1-0, 1, 2.60).

SEASON SERIES: Canadiens, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 12; Canadiens, 2-0. At Atlanta, Danis stopped 32 shots to become the third Montreal goaltender to record a shutout in his NHL debut.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Thrashers - 4-6-1 on the road; Canadiens - 7-4-1 at home.

Associated Press
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