NHL

Canadiens host Lightning on TSN Regional

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The Sports Network
3/17/2011 12:23:20 PM
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(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to make up some ground in the Eastern Conference standings when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at the Bell Centre.

Viewers in the Canadiens' region can watch the game on the TSN alternate channel at 7:30pm et/8:30pm at.

The Canadiens are currently seeded sixth in the East and are trailing Tampa Bay by four points for the conference's fifth seed. The Lightning, meanwhile, are three points in back of idle Pittsburgh for fourth.

Tampa won the first two meetings of the year against the Habs, but Montreal posted a 4-2 road victory when the clubs last met on March 5. The Bolts have taken four of seven overall in this series and have won two of their last three in Montreal.

The Lightning are coming off an impressive victory, as they completed a season sweep of the Maple Leafs on Monday with a 6-2 rout at Toronto's Air Canada Centre. Mattias Ritola scored two goals and Teddy Purcell notched three assists to help give Tampa a 4-0 record against the Leafs this season.

Vincent Lecavalier, Dominic Moore, Mike Lundin and Nate Thompson all tallied for the Lightning, who are trailing Washington by five points for the Southeast Division lead.

"We knew they (Toronto) were desperate and had been playing hard of late," said Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher. "The playoffs are getting closer and closer and we just focused on our game and we were able to get some secondary scoring and come out on top."

Dwayne Roloson had 30 saves in the win, which was Tampa Bay's second of the month and improved its less than impressive March record to 2-4-2.

Tampa ended a three-game road losing streak with Monday's win in Toronto and the Bolts are 17-13-4 as the visiting club this year. The Lightning will complete a four-game swing Saturday in Ottawa.

The Lightning will have defenseman Pavel Kubina back tonight, as the veteran has finished serving a three-game suspension for elbowing Chicago's Dave Bolland in the head on March 9.

The Canadiens have dropped two of their last three games following a five-game winning streak and Montreal was dealt a home loss by Washington in its last trip to the ice. Marcus Johansson tallied two goals to lead the Capitals to Tuesday's 4-2 win at the Bell Centre.

Travis Moen and Andrei Kostitsyn each lit the lamp for the Canadiens, while Carey Price yielded four goals on 41 shots in the loss.

"We weren't playing great," Canadiens right winger Brian Gionta said. "Price kept us in it. We didn't have the effort tonight. We were a step behind on everything. They were pressuring all over the ice and we were back on our heels."

Price is expected to get the start tonight and is 1-1-1 with a 3.40 goals- against average against Tampa this season.

Montreal forwards Tomas Plekanec and Jeff Halpern left the last game with lower-body injuries and are questionable for tonight's tilt. Habs defenseman Brent Sopel is also questionable after missing the last three games with an injured left hand.

The Canadiens have an impressive 21-9-6 record on home ice this season and will complete a brief two-game residency tonight.

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