HabsWorld.net -- 

Tonight marks the first meeting of the season between the Tampa Bay Lightning
(5-4-5) and the Montreal Canadiens (8-8-0). Steven Stamkos is red hot right now
for Tampa Bay and as the Olympics near, he might be given an outside shot to
play for Canada. Tonight will also mark Alex Tanguay’s return to the Bell
Centre, after a mediocre campaign with the Canadiens last season.


Montreal is coming off their first win against Boston in 9 meetings. After the
game ending in a 1-1 draw, Mike Cammalleri scored the shootout winner. That win
against a division rival should be a big confidence boost going into tonight.
Perhaps more importantly, Price looked to be back on top form and ready to
reclaim his starting role on the team. Montreal would like to string together
their second win in a row tonight

Tampa Bay is coming off a 3-2 loss in overtime to the Ottawa Senators. Jason
Spezza got the overtime winner during a powerplay opportunity. Stamkos and
Tanguay scored the two goals for Tampa Bay.

Lineup News:

The injury situation for Montreal is not great at the moment. Hal Gill, Andrei
Markov and Ryan O’Byrne are all sidelined from a defensive perspective. Mathieu
Carle will start his third consecutive game for Montreal tonight. Although the
Habs claimed Jay Leach off waivers yesterday he will not be in the lineup for

Brian Gionta took another “therapy day” yesterday but will be fine to play again
tonight. Matt D’Agostini is still out with a concussion and Georges Laraque
still has labouring back problems. This week saw Ryan White and Tom Pyatt
recalled from Hamilton. Both players featured in Thursday’s win and saw White
get his first NHL point. This will leave Kyle Chipchura and Greg Stewart as the
healthy scratches again for tonight. Carey Price has been confirmed as the
starter after a stellar performance on Thursday night against the Bruins.

Tampa Bay has few injuries to worry about. The biggest name that will be out of
the lineup tonight will be Victor Hedman. During Thursday’s game against Ottawa
he was caught with his head down by a charging Chris Neil. Hedman will take the
night off to clear the cobwebs. The other player that Tampa will be missing
tonight is Paul Ranger. Antero Niittymaki will start in goal for Tampa .

Keys to the Game:

With so many injuries on the blueline, it all starts and finishes with Carey
Price tonight. After going through a rough patch in October, he certainly showed
he was back on his “A game” on Thursday. Steve Stamkos has been red hot this
season with 12 goals and 17 points. It will be up to both Price and what is left
of the defense to shut down Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. It
will also be important for the Habs to try and get their Powerplay going to help
out the struggling offence. Right now the Canadiens sit 26th in the league. Not
good enough.

Closing thoughts:

The Canadiens have proven themselves so far to be a solid home team with a
record of (5-3-0) at the Bell Centre. Tampa Bay on the other hand as been poor
on the road with a record of (1-4-2). Price will want to string two wins
together for the first time since the first two games of the season. Roman
Hamrlik will have to provide lots of minutes and leadership as well tonight if
the Habs are to have success. Montreal split the season series 2-2 last season
with Tampa with all games being close and two of those going to a shootout.
Expect another close one tonight.

The game tonight can be seen on CBC, RDS (HD) and SUN . Puck drop is at 7pm ET.