NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, February 2nd (All times Eastern)
Winnipeg Jets (26-25-5) at Montreal Canadiens (29-20-6), 1 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Montreal Canadiens had a two-game win streak halted the last time out, but they can extend a point streak to four games on Sunday afternoon when they welcome the Winnipeg Jets to the Bell Centre.
Montreal had outscored Carolina and Boston by a combined 7-1 score in winning two straight, but the Habs were handed a 2-1 overtime loss on Saturday by the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Canadiens tied the Lightning at 1-1 in the third period on Danny Briere's ninth goal of the season, but Nate Thompson's second goal of the game came with 23.1 seconds remaining in overtime to give Tampa Bay the win. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman collected a carom off the end boards and dished to the slot for Thompson, who slid the puck past Carey Price's left pad and inside the right post for the victory.
"This was a good team, one of the best teams in the league. They are always on top of you pursuing pucks," said Montreal head coach Michel Therrien.
Montreal had a power-play opportunity that spanned the end of regulation and the beginning of the extra session, but couldn't solve Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop during that time. The Habs went 0-for-4 on the power play in the OT loss.
Price stopped 34 shots for Montreal, which has dropped five of its last seven games but still occupies the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Canadiens are two points behind Toronto for second place in the Atlantic Division and four ahead of Philadelphia, which is currently eighth in the conference standings.
Montreal has dominated the Atlanta/Winnipeg series in recent years, taking six straight and nine of the past 10 meetings in this matchup. The Habs recorded a 3-0 victory in Winnipeg on Oct. 15 as Price turned aside 36 shots to record a shutout.
Price could get the start on consecutive days for Montreal and he is 11-3-3 with a 2.26 goals against average in 18 career games against the Thrashers/Jets. Backup goaltender Peter Budaj is 1-3-1 with a 2.58 GAA in five career outings in this matchup.
The Jets hope to begin February on a positive note after ending last month by winning seven of nine games. Winnipeg's 7-2-0 stretch to end January also coincided with the arrival of new head coach Paul Maurice, who replaced the fired Claude Noel behind the bench on Jan. 12.
Winnipeg picked up a win Friday against visiting Vancouver, as Devin Setoguchi scored the game-winner with 2:56 to play, lifting the Jets to the 4-3 decision at MTS Centre.
Setoguchi scored twice while Zach Bogosian and Michael Frolik also scored for the Jets, who have won three of four. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 23 shots in the win.
"I think our execution was good at times, they played a really good game as far as controlling the puck in our end," said Setoguchi. "But we were able to have a little bit of poise and make the plays when we needed to be played and that's something that we can build forward here."
The Jets will play their final four games before the Olympic break on the road, beginning with today's tilt at the Bell Centre. Winnipeg, which is six points out of a playoff spot in the West, is 12-14-1 as the road team this season but the Jets have won three of their past four games as the guest.
02/02 10:32:57 ET