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Habs aim for third straight win in home test vs. Bolts

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Montreal Canadiens hope to continue their recent hot play, as they shoot for a third straight win in Saturday afternoon's home test against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Montreal has won two straight on the heels of an 0-4-0 slide, beating a visiting Carolina club by a 3-0 score on Tuesday before notching a 4-1 win Thursday night in Boston. The Habs received crucial second-period goals from Brian Gionta and Danny Briere on Thursday to down the Atlantic Division- leading Bruins at TD Garden.

The Canadiens jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period before Boston's Dougie Hamilton cut the deficit to one before the end of 20 minutes. However, Gionta notched a power-play goal to give the Habs a 3-1 edge at 11:54 of the second period and Briere tallied 1:52 later to arrive at the final margin.

"This was close to a complete game for us," said Briere.

Alexei Emelin and Max Pacioretty also lit the lamp for the Canadiens, who haven't won three in a row since posting a season-high five-game winning streak from Nov. 30-Dec. 7. Brendan Gallagher picked up a pair of assists, while Peter Budaj backed up his teammates with 34 saves.

Carey Price expects to get the start today and the club's No. 1 goaltender is 10-6-3 with a 2.37 goals against average in his career against Tampa.

Montreal is beginning a four-game homestand this afternoon and the club is 15-9-3 at the Bell Centre this season.

The Canadiens enter Saturday holding onto the seventh playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but Montreal is only a point back of Toronto for third place in the Atlantic and four behind the second-place Lightning. The top- three teams in each division earn an automatic bid to the playoffs.

Montreal and Tampa have split the first two of four meetings this season, with each club picking up a road shootout win. The Canadiens have taken five of the past six encounters in this series overall and the Lightning had lost four straight in Montreal before recording a 2-1 shootout win at the Bell Centre on Nov. 12.

Tampa Bay has lost two straight and enters Saturday with some goaltending questions after the club's top-two goaltenders Ben Bishop and Anders Lindback suffered injuries in Thursday's 5-3 loss at Ottawa.

Bishop's upper-body injury took place moments before the game's first goal. Tampa's No. 1 goaltender dove to his left in an attempt to knock the puck away from Ottawa's Mike Zibanejad, but Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov, who was trailing on the play, failed to jump over Bishop. Kucherov's knee hit the back of Bishop's head and the Vezina Trophy candidate remained on the ice for several minutes before leaving the game.

Lindback stopped 23-of-27 shots in relief of Bishop, but Tampa's backup also suffered an injury when he was run into by Ottawa's Cory Conacher. Although Lindback finished Thursday's contest he has been ruled out for today, while Bishop practiced on Friday and is questionable for this afternoon's contest.

Although Bishop's participation in practice on Friday is a good sign, the Lightning recalled two goaltenders from the AHL for today's game just in case Bishop was unable to suit up. Both Cedrick Desjardins and Kristers Gudlvevskis were called up from Tampa's AHL affiliate in Syracuse for Saturday.

Bishop is having a phenomenal season for the Lightning, posting a 26-7-4 record along with a 2.01 GAA, .932 save percentage and four shutouts.

Determining the starting goaltender for tonight's contest will be a game-time decision for Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.

Victor Hedman, Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn scored for the Lightning in Thursday's loss.

Tampa forward Valtteri Filppula also was lost to an injury on Thursday and he is not expected to play on Saturday.

The Bolts are 0-2-0 so far on a four-game road trip. The Lightning haven't lost three games in a row of any kind since an 0-3-1 slide from Nov. 16-22.

02/01 11:28:44 ET

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Schedule

Saturday, April 19Full Scoreboard
Chicago 4/19 3:00 PM ET
St. Louis @theRink | TV: NBC, CBC, RDS
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. St. Louis leads series, 1-0.
Columbus 4/19 7:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh NBC, CBC, RDS
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Pittsburgh leads series, 1-0.
Minnesota 4/19 9:30 PM ET
Colorado NBCSN, TSN, Altitude
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Colorado leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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NOR
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