Canadiens vs. Lightning Preview
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The Canadiens are feeling right at home as they enter this matchup in the Sunshine State.
Montreal looks to match a season high with its fourth consecutive road win Saturday night when the Southeast Division-leading Lightning try to get back on track following a difficult road swing.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Lightning -135 money line favorites for Saturday's game against the Canadiens. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 83% of more than 290 bets for this game have been placed on the Lightning -135.
With just two wins in their previous 10 road games, the Canadiens (35-23-7) fell to 1-5-0 on their season-high seven-game trip with a 4-1 loss against Tampa Bay on Dec. 30.
Montreal, though, is 7-4-1 away from the Bell Centre since that defeat. Coach Jacques Martin's club improved to 2-0-0 on its three-game trip with Thursday's 4-0 victory over Florida.
Hearing chants of "Ca-rey! Ca-rey!" from the pro-Canadiens fans in Sunrise, Fla., Carey Price made 30 saves for his 30th victory and seventh shutout of the season - the most clean sheets by a Montreal goalie since Cristobal Huet had seven in 2005-06.
"It's definitely odd (hearing my name on the road), but there's a lot of snowbirds down here," Price said after the Canadiens won their third straight overall and fourth in five games. "It's always fun to play down here. It's almost like playing at home."
Price has yielded three goals during Montreal's three-game road winning streak. The Canadiens, though, have been outscored 7-1 while losing their last two in Tampa.
The Lightning (37-20-7) would like to extend that home-ice edge following a 1-2-0 trip that ended with back-to-back 2-1 losses to New Jersey and Boston.
Thursday's defeat dropped Tampa Bay two points behind the Bruins for second place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Lightning's divisional lead over Washington is one point.
"The guys are gassed and we hung on. We hung on," coach Guy Boucher said. "... We deserved one point (against the Devils). We deserved one point (Thursday) - that would have been four points out of six on a tough road trip, so it didn't turn our way."
Tampa Bay hopes for better results on a four-game homestand that continues Monday with a critical matchup against the Capitals. The club, though, is unsure if captain Vincent Lecavalier will be available during this stretch after he missed Thursday's contest with a mid-body injury.
Lecavalier has seven goals and 12 points in his last 10 games. If he can't go, Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis might have to shoulder more of the scoring load.
Stamkos, the NHL leader with 41 goals, has found the net just once in the last 10 games, but he has three goals and three assists in two victories against Montreal this season. He scored twice and matched a season high with four points in the Dec. 30 win.
St. Louis scored on the power play in that matchup as the Montreal-area native extended his goal-scoring streak versus the Canadiens to four.
Mike Smith, who made 26 saves on Thursday in his first start since Dec. 18 following a knee injury, turned away 24 shots in a 4-3 overtime victory in Montreal on Oct. 13.
Price has allowed four goals in each of the two matchups with Tampa Bay this season.
The Canadiens won a season-best four straight on the road from Oct. 9-29.