Canadiens-Lightning Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 08, 2013
The Montreal Canadiens were mired in their longest losing streak of the season when they arrived in Tampa last month. The Eastern Conference leaders are playing much better as they make their final visit of 2012-13. Montreal will try to earn points for the 13th time in 14 games on Saturday night when the slumping Lightning look to avoid their first four-game home losing streak in three seasons. Starting with a 4-3 shootout win over Tampa Bay (10-13-1) on Feb. 12 that ended their 0-2-1 stretch, the Canadiens (15-5-4) have gone 9-1-3 to move atop the Northeast Division and two points ahead of second-place Pittsburgh in the East. Montreal's run has truly been a team effort, with different lines carrying the club in each of the first three stops of its five-game trip. David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher combined for three goals and six points in Sunday's 4-3 victory over Boston. Michael Ryder (three assists), Brian Gionta and Tomas Plekanec had five points in Tuesday's 6-3 loss to the New York Islanders and the Brandon Prust-Lars Eller-Alex Galchenyuk line contributed six points in Thursday's 4-2 win over Carolina. "We've got three lines firing right now, and I wouldn't be surprised if the fourth line came up big for us in the next game," Prust told the Canadiens' official website after matching Eller's goal and two assists for a career-high three points. "When you have four lines you can roll like this, everybody gets their rest because we know we can rely on each other. That's the key to our game." The Canadiens, whose 7-2-2 start outside Montreal is their best since opening 9-2-0 in 1997-98, are clearly playing with confidence, The Lightning are not, as they've lost seven of nine. They've also dropped six of seven against visiting teams after opening 5-0-0 at home. Tampa Bay is among the NHL's best with 3.42 goals per game, but the club has found the back of the net just 16 times during a 1-6-0 skid. Steven Stamkos has six of those goals after netting his league-leading 18th in Thursday's 2-1 home loss to Winnipeg. "Obviously, you've got to produce, but you want to do it when the team is winning. Feels a lot better that way," he said. "When you're not winning, then maybe there's more I can do, we can do as a team.'' Stamkos, three goals shy of 200, has been doing his part with 11 goals and 18 points in 12 games since getting held off the scoresheet on Feb. 12. Martin St. Louis is also on a nice run, compiling five assists and seven points during a five-game point streak. The Lightning, though, need more production from Vincent Lecavalier, who has no goals in nine games. However, their captain has 19 points in his last 18 games against Montreal after setting up Sami Salo's game-tying goal last month that capped off Tampa Bay's rally from three down in the third. Defenseman Victor Hedman scored the Lightning's first two of that period versus Carey Price, who finished with 21 saves and stopped all three tiebreaker attempts. Anders Lindback turned aside 31 shots for Tampa Bay in that game, but he'll be watching Saturday's game from the bench if coach Guy Boucher gives recent call-up Cedrick Desjardins, a former Montreal minor leaguer, his third career start, and first since 2010-11. Desjardins made 27 saves in his first NHL appearance, a 4-1 Lightning home win over the Canadiens on Dec. 30, 2010.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Several NBA executives have concerns about Lonzo Ball’s father

Kim Mulkey gives awful post-game speech about Baylor scandal

Bill Walton goes shirtless during ESPN broadcast to the dismay of one woman

Sanu: Halftime show played role in Super Bowl collapse

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Rams, Clippers discussing NBA venue in Inglewood

Terrence Jones reportedly interested in joining Celtics

LeBron reverses course, says he ‘always felt good’ about Cavs

Report: Ole Miss tried to implicate Mississippi State in football scandal

Jamaal Charles could be on the roster bubble

Jimmy Butler on state of Bulls: ‘I just want to win at all costs’

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker