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Canadiens-Avalanche Preview

Friday, 02.13.2009 / 5:00 PM

Associated Press

The Montreal Canadiens hope a trip to face the Colorado Avalanche will help end their struggles. The Avs are looking for the same against the staggering Canadiens.

Montreal tries to avoid dropping eight straight on the road for the first time in over three years Friday night when it meets Colorado, which has lost three in a row and 13 of its last 19.

The Canadiens (29-20-6) haven't dropped eight consecutive games away from home since an 0-6-3 skid from Nov. 10-Dec. 26, 2005. They're on their second four-game overall losing streak in 2009 and have dropped nine of their last 11.

Montreal, which hasn't suffered five consecutive defeats since a six-game skid from Feb. 6-17, 2007, lost 7-2 to Edmonton on Wednesday night in the second of a season-high six-game trip.

"You can talk for days and months and weeks, but it's what you do on the ice that counts," said coach Guy Carbonneau, who saw Carey Price give up four first-period goals en route to his worst career performance.

"We can talk about bad bounces and breaks, like the fifth (goal), but it seems to happen a lot in the past month, and we're going to have to work on that. Obviously, I'm really disappointed by some of the efforts that we've had."

While Carbonneau's All-Star goalie has given up 12 goals in his last two starts, his team's play on offense hasn't helped either. The Canadiens, who averaged 3.05 goals in their first 44 games, are scoring 2.27 in their last 11.

Montreal has also averaged 2.54 goals in going 12-14-2 on the road compared with 3.26 and a 17-6-4 home record.

"It's been going on for a while, and for the last three games, the way we've done it, it's not fun to be a part of," captain Saku Koivu said. "I don't have a solution right now, but it's not just going to take one or two guys."

Andrei Kostitsyn, tied for the team lead with 18 goals, hasn't scored in the past four games. However, Robert Lang, who also has 18 goals, has two in the last three, and Alex Kovalev has an assist in three straight.

Montreal will be without forward Tomas Plekanec, who was suspended two games without pay Thursday for tripping Oilers defenseman Denis Grebeshkov from behind. Plekanec has 11 goals and 14 assists.

Like Montreal, the Avalanche (25-29-1) has struggled offensively. They had three goals during an 0-3-0 road trip and are scoring 2.56 per game.

Despite two goals from Ryan Smyth, the Avalanche failed to come away with a point Wednesday night as Minnesota scored with 1:11 remaining to hand Colorado a 3-2 defeat.

"It's not about individual games. It's about a team effort and finding ways to mentally overcome a difficult situation that we're in right now," Smyth said. "We've got to find a way, and we're finding ways to lose. We've got to find ways to win."

Smyth, who has a team-leading 44 points, has two goals and eight points in the last seven games. Milan Hejduk, who has scored a team-best 20 times, has five goals and two assists in that time.

The Canadiens haven't faced the Avalanche since an 8-5 win on Oct. 21, 2006, and haven't played at the Pepsi Center since a 2-1 loss on Jan. 11, 2006.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 13 '09MTL 4 at COL 2A. Kostitsyn
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
A. Markov5673542+42833
R. Lang50182139+63683
A. Kovalev56132639+05243
A. Kostitsyn52191332+02152
S. Koivu3992029+62632
A. Tanguay34101626+72641
T. Plekanec55111425-44421
S. Kostitsyn5181523+06251
R. Hamrlik5541721+54200
M. Lapierre5310919+24402
G. Latendresse439918+14111
T. Kostopoulos5261016+07200
M. D'Agostini3410515-101221
P. Brisebois4641014-11930
J. Gorges5521214+92610
C. Higgins317512-11401
S. Begin426410-52701
F. Bouillon51538-75301
M. Pacioretty19358-31910
M. Komisarek40167+36500
M. Dandenault22145+3400
R. O'Byrne29033-42900
G. Laraque22022-44000
K. Chipchura8022-3500
G. Stewart3011+1000
B. Maxwell7000-1200
A. Henry2000-21000
Y. Weber1000+0200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
C. Price3518-11-59510072.73.906
J. Halak2312-9-1656823.00.905
M. Denis10-0-0173.00.857
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
R. Smyth56182644-105283
M. Hejduk56202141-11882
W. Wolski55112132-82222
P. Stastny34102131-41662
J. Liles5472128-102340
M. Svatos49121325-13051
J. Leopold5661319-81811
T. Arnason5441418-91221
T. Hensick4141317+01210
R. Salei5431417-65210
C. McLeod5612416+111403
C. Stewart318614-73500
I. Laperriere485914+19600
D. Jones408513-8811
J. Sakic1521012-6600
D. Tucker455611-105011
B. Clark562911-22601
C. McCormick32178+24700
B. Guite25235+2600
B. Willsie24134-3800
A. Foote30044-71800
D. Tjarnqvist26213+1600
S. Hannan55033-111800
P. Dupuis8000-1400
K. Cumiskey6000-2000
C. Durno2000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
P. Budaj4216-23-112011712.95.898
A. Raycroft179-7-0474453.01.894
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