Habs look for home-and-home sweep of Bruins

The Sports Network

3/22/2008 12:19:13 PM

(Sports Network) - A pair of Northeast Division rivals will wrap up a home- and-home series tonight, as the Montreal Canadiens welcome the Boston Bruins to the Bell Centre.

The Habs will have to do without defenceman Mike Komisarek who will miss the next three weeks with what is being described as a "lower-body" injury.

The Canadiens, who won the opener of the set Thursday evening in Boston, are fighting for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Montreal has 92 points and is currently one ahead of both New Jersey and Pittsburgh in the race for the top spot in the East.

The Habs also come into Saturday with a three-point edge over Ottawa for the Northeast Division lead.

The Bruins, meanwhile, have 83 points and are eighth in the East standings, but trail Philadelphia by just one point for the No. 7 slot.

Boston may have a tough time gaining ground, however, considering that the Bruins have lost all seven meetings with Montreal this season. Boston has also been handed defeats in 10 of its last 11 trips to the Bell Centre, including six straight times.

Montreal notched a 4-2 victory over the Bruins on Thursday, as Alex Kovalev scored twice and added an assist to lead the Canadiens at TD Banknorth Garden.

Andrei Kostitsyn finished with a goal and assist for Montreal, which has won two of its last three contests. Michael Ryder also tallied and Carey Price stopped 34-of-36 shots in the win.

Price, a 20-year-old rookie, is 6-3 since taking over the starting job from the departed Cristobal Huet, who was dealt to Washington at the trade deadline. Price is 18-12-3 with a .916 save percentage and 2.67 goals against average in 35 games this season.

Mark Stuart and Dennis Wideman tallied for Boston, which has lost two in a row and five of six. Tim Thomas allowed four goals on 30 shots in the loss.

Thomas has struggled recently, as he has lost four of his last five starts and surrendered a total of 20 goals over that span. The 33-year-old backstop is 24-18-4 with a .919 save percentage and 2.57 goals against average this season.