NHL

Halak starts for Canadiens against Blue Jackets

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The Sports Network
11/7/2008 11:18:39 AM
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The sizzling Montreal Canadiens will aim for a fourth consecutive victory tonight, when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

The Canadiens, who are 8-1-1 on the season, were dealt their lone regulation setback of the year on October 25 against visiting Anaheim, but have since responded with three straight wins.

Montreal last played Saturday at the New York Islanders and was able to pull off an amazing comeback victory. The Isles held a 4-1 advantage after two periods, but the Habs scored four unanswered goals in the final stanza to earn a 5-4 decision.

Tomas Plekanec scored two of Montreal's four third-period goals to help his club earn the win at Nassau Coliseum.

Plekanec also added two assists while Alexei Kovalev also had two goals and two assists for the Canadiens, who have won eight of their last nine contests.

Andrei Markov added two assists while Carey Price rebounded from a rough start to make 27 saves. Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the Canadiens, while Price gets the call on Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Canadiens are playing the third test on a four-game road trip tonight. They are 4-0-1 as the visiting club this year, having won four straight since a shootout loss against Buffalo to open the season.

The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, are hosting the second of four straight at home. Columbus, which is 3-2-1 as the home club, kicked off the residency with a close win over Edmonton. Manny Malhotra scored the game-winning goal with 1:09 to play in the third period as the Jackets rallied past the Oilers, 5-4.

Kristian Huselius, Derick Brassard, Fredrik Modin and R.J. Umberger each had a goal for the Blue Jackets, who had dropped two straight and five of their last six contests coming in to Wednesday's game.

Raffi Torres had a pair of assists in his first game against his former team. The Blue Jackets acquired Torres from Edmonton on July 1 in exchange for Gilbert Brule.

Steve Mason, Columbus' second pick (69th overall) in the 2006 draft, made 22 saves to record a win in his NHL debut. Last year, Mason went 32-7-3 with a 2.51 goals-against average, .916 save percentage and three shutouts in 42 games with London and Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League.

The all-time series between the Canadiens and Blue Jackets is deadlocked, as both teams sport a 3-3 record with one tie in the seven meetings. Montreal has won both times it's played in Columbus.

Jaroslav Halak (Photo: Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
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