Latendresse makes his return to Montreal to face Habs on TSN

The Sports Network

12/17/2009 12:06:05 PM

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will welcome back Guillaume Latendresse and hope to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season tonight in a matchup with the Minnesota Wild at the Bell Centre.

Catch the game as the top half of a great NHL on TSN double-header starting at 7pm et/4pm pt.  The game is also available on TSNHD.

The Candiens sent Latendresse, who spent his first three seasons with the Habs to the Wild on November 23rd in exchange for Benoit Pouliot.  Pouliot, who is battling a wrist injury, has yet to play for the Canadiens this season.

The Canadiens have followed a three-game winning streak by dropping four games in a row -- all by one goal. That has them one setback shy of matching the five-game skid they endured from October 6-17, which came after two wins to begin the season.

Montreal's slide reached four last night with a 2-1 setback to New Jersey. Travis Moen scored a short-handed tally in the loss and Carey Price ended with 25 saves.

"It definitely had a weird feeling to it," Price said of New Jersey's first goal and the game as a whole. "It was very choppy out there, there was no flow to the game, and though we kept plugging away, it seemed there was going to be one bounce to decide the game and that's what happened."

Price has started back-to-back games twice this season, going 0-1-1 in the second game. He has faced the Wild just once in his career, stopping 28-of-29 shots in last season's 2-1 road victory. Backup Jaroslav Halak, who started Monday's 4-3 loss to Buffalo, has never faced Minnesota.

Montreal has won two straight and three of its last four meetings with Minnesota. The teams have met just four times at the Bell Centre, with the Canadiens posting a 2-1 record with a tie.

The Canadiens will be without defenceman Roman Hamrlik, after he sustained an injury during Wednesday's loss to the Devils.  The team has recalled Yannick Weber from Hamilton of the AHL to take his place.

The Wild's Niklas Backstrom was in net when the clubs last met in Montreal on November 22, 2006. He gave up three goals on 34 shots to take the loss in his only career start versus Montreal.

Backstrom is likely to be in net again tonight, with backup Josh Harding battling the flu. Backstrom made 21 saves in Tuesday's 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Wild's third win in four games.

Minnesota, which is now 9-2-1 over its last 12 games, got the game-winning goal from Marek Zidlicky with 38.8 seconds left. Guillaume Latendresse also scored, while Martin Havlat had an assist to give him two goals and six helpers in his last six games.

"We give ourselves a chance to win every night. That's what good teams do," said Latendresse.

Minnesota returned home from a 3-2-0 road trip on Tuesday, but play another two straight as the guest starting tonight. The club is 6-11-2 away from Minnesota, compared to 10-3-1 at home.

In addition to Harding's illness, Wild forward Owen Nolan missed his second game in a row on Tuesday due to a leg injury.