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Montreal Canadiens (19-12-2) at Dallas Stars (20-10-3) – Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

The Montreal Canadiens will look to earn their first victory on their 7-game
road trip as the face the Dallas Stars this evening.  Their road opener
ended poorly, as the Canadiens surrendered two leads to the Colorado Avalanche,
en route to losing 3-2 on Monday night.  Conversely, the Stars are coming
off a thrilling victory over the Detroit Red Wings, where captain Brenden Morrow
tied the game in the last few minutes to send the game to overtime.  The
Habs and Stars play each other just once this season, and met once last year,
with the Canadiens winning 5-3 at home.  Brian Gionta scored twice, and
Georges Laraque, Benoit Pouliot and Mike Cammalleri added goals while Carey
Price made 33 saves for the win.  The Stars are one win away from taking
sole possession of the Western Conference lead, and are 6-2-2 in their last 10
games.  The Canadiens are struggling to maintain their Northeast division
lead, are 5-4-1 over the same span and have lost 4 of their last 5 games.

Jacques Martin has indicated that Carey Price (18-10-2, 2.13 GAA, .929 SV%)
will see 6 of 7 starts on this road trip, and is confirmed to be in
front of the cage tonight.  Kari Lehtonen (14-7-3, 2.58 GAA, .917 SV%) is slated to play tonight, and
both he and backup Andrew Raycroft (6-3-0, 2.36 GAA, .923 SV%) have posted impressive numbers this
season.  Price is a career 2-1-0 against the Stars, with a 2.67
goals-against average and .909 save percentage.

With 3 points in his last 4 games, Tomas Plekanec (10-18-28) continues to
lead the Canadiens in scoring with 28 points through 32 games.  Mike
Cammalleri (12-13-25) leads the Habs in goals scored, and has recorded points in
7 straight games (5-3-8).  Despite a painfully slow start, Scott Gomez has
been on fire since returning from injury, recording 5 assists in those 3 games. 
Dallas boasts some impressive firepower, led by Brad Richards (15-23-38), Loui
Eriksson (14-20-34), James Neal (13-15-28), Mike Ribeiro (5-21-26) and Brenden
Morrow (12-8-20).

If special teams is a factor tonight, Montreal will bear an advantage in both
categories.  Their 19.1% efficiency with the man advantage is good for 11th
in the league while Dallas’  16.7% conversion rate is ranked 18th in the
NHL.  Meanwhile Montreal’s penalty-killing numbers have recently slipped to
2nd-best in the NHL, killing off 87.8% of their penalties.  Dallas ranks in
the bottom third of the league with 80.3% success when short-handed.

As always, the Canadiens are without Andrei Markov, and based on yesterday’s
practice, it appears that Benoit Pouliot and Yannick Weber will be the healthy
scratches.  Alexandre Picard didn’t practice yesterday and is questionable
for tonight.

Yesterday’s lines at practice were as follows:

    Cammalleri – Plekanec – Eller

    Pacioretty – Gomez – Gionta

    Kostitsyn – Halpern – Moen

    Darche – Pyatt – Lapierre

Game-time is 9:00 EST and the match can been seen on RDS and regional TSN.

Preview written by
Matt Dilworth