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Preview: Atlanta at Montreal – November 3rd,

The Montreal Canadiens (7-7-0) will look to
continue their winning ways as they host the Atlanta Thrashers (5-4-1). 
Both teams won their last game, with Montreal escaping with a win against
Toronto in the shootout while Ondrej Pavelec led the Thrashers over Ottawa with
50 saves. 


The two teams last faced off in Montreal on October 20th, with
Montreal winning 2-1 in a shootout.  Mike Cammalleri and Colby Armstrong
tallied the lone goals in regulation, and Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta scored
the goals in the shootout for the win.  Pavelec made 34 saves in regulation
and overtime while Jaroslav Halak countered with 22 saves for Montreal.

Pavelec (4-3-1, 2.60 GAA, .924 SV%) is likely
to see the start against Montreal after his strong performance against Ottawa. 
Halak (5-2-0, 2.85 GAA, .893 SV%) is expected in net for Montreal, but it is
possible that Carey Price (2-5-0, 3.44 GAA, .889 SV%) may see a start.  Rich Peverley leads the Thrasher in scoring with 13 points
(6G, 7A) in 10 games and is presently on a 7 game point streak.  Tomas
Plekanec (3G, 10A) and Cammalleri (6G, 7A) share the scoring lead with 13 points
through 14 games.  The Thrashers are among the league leaders with an
average of 3.4 goals per game while Montreal falls in around 20th with an
average of 2.57 goals per game.  Atlanta is superior in the goals against
category, allowing an average of 2.8 goals against per game versus Montreal’s
average of 3.21.

Atlanta boasts the 3rd best powerplay in the
NHL with a conversion rate of 27.8% with the man advantage.  Montreal’s
success rate of 15.1% pales in comparison and has struggled mightily of late. 
They have gone 2 for 16 over their last 5 games, and both of those powerplay
goals were scored with a 2-man advantage.  Peverley leads the way for
Atlanta with 4 powerplay goals while Marc-André Bergeron leads the Habs with two
powerplay goals of his own.  Montreal will need to eliminate the
unnecessary penalties, as they have taken 6 delay of game penalties over the
last 4 games (5 for shooting the puck over the glass), and their 75.8% penalty-kill
rate is among the league’s worst.  Conversely, Atlanta boasts a 82.2%
success rate with the man disadvantage and were perfect against Montreal the
last time the two teams met.

Andrei Markov (ankle), Ryan O’Byrne (knee),
Georges Laraque (back),
Matt D’Agostini (head) and Hal Gill (foot) will miss tonight’s game due to
injury.   Gill took a shot off his foot in yesterday’s practice and
Mathieu Carle has been called up to play in his stead. Ilya
Kovalchuk (foot) and Kari Lehtonen (back) will sit out for Atlanta, while ex-Hab Ron Hainsey (undisclosed) is questionable for tonight’s game. 
Despite his disparaging comments regarding his lack of ice-time, Andrei
Kostitsyn is slated to start the game on the 4th line.

The puck drops at 7:30 EST and can be seen on

This preview was written by Matt