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Blackhawks look to bounce back vs. Canadiens

By Jeff Mezydlo

Stats Senior Writer

Chicago (40-23-11) at Montreal (38-27-10), 7:30 p.m. EDT

MONTREAL (AP) -- It's been almost two weeks since Cristobal Huet

made a start in net for the Chicago Blackhawks. His next is

expected to come against the team with which he enjoyed the most

success of his career.

Huet will try to help the Blackhawks bounce back from a

frustrating loss Tuesday night when he returns to Montreal to

face the Canadiens for the first time since they traded him last

season.

After winning 37 games in his previous two seasons with

Montreal, Huet was 21-12-6 with a 2.55 goals-against average

when the Canadiens traded him to Washington on Feb. 26, 2008, in

order to give then-prized rookie Carey Price more playing time.

Huet went 11-2-0 with a 1.63 GAA and won three playoff games for

the Capitals, but signed a four-year deal with Chicago in July.

He is 19-14-4 with a 2.50 GAA this season, but hasn't started

since making 24 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss at Columbus on

March 18.

After Nikolai Khabibulin started Chicago's last five games,

including a 4-0 home loss to Vancouver on Sunday, coach Joel

Quenneville will go with Huet to help the Blackhawks (40-23-11)

avoid a season-high fifth straight road loss.

With home-ice advantage in the first round of the Western

Conference playoffs on the line, the Blackhawks and Canucks are

tied for the coveted fourth spot. Chicago has a game in hand on

Vancouver.

"We've got eight games and everyone is more important than the

next," Quenneville told the Blackhawks' official Web site.

"Everything gets compounded. It's a fun time of the year."

This is the only meeting between the Original Six clubs this

season. Montreal won 4-3 in overtime at home over the Blackhawks

on Jan. 8, 2008 in the teams' most recent meeting. The Canadiens

have won six of the last eight in the series and three in a row

at home.

Montreal (38-27-10) lost 4-3 in a shootout to visiting Buffalo

on Saturday. The Canadiens, 2-0-1 since losing five in a row

(0-3-2), own the eighth and final playoff spot in the East with

eight games remaining.

Alex Kovalev had two goals, Chris Higgins one and Alex Tanguay

added two assists Saturday for the Canadiens, who are 2-1-1 on a

five-game homestand before playing four of their final six on

the road.

Price made 34 saves for Montreal, which overcame a two-goal

deficit by scoring three straight in the second period.

"I don't think we responded badly, but I don't think we made the

plays to alleviate that pressure," said Higgins, who has three

points in his last four contests.

Kovalev has five goals in his last three games, while Tanguay

looks to extend his point streak to six games. Tanguay has three

goals and seven assists during that span and 10 with 21 assists

in 27 career games against Chicago.

Price, who has never faced the Blackhawks, is 22-14-9 with a

2.81 GAA this season.

The Canadiens hope to have forward Andrei Kostitsyn back after

he missed the last two games with the flu. Kostitsyn has a

team-leading 23 goals - three shy of his career high.

Shut out for just the fifth time, Chicago had its three-game

winning streak snapped Sunday. Martin Havlat had his point

streak stopped at five games.

Havlat has five goals with five assists in his last six contests

overall and six with nine assists in 20 career games against

Montreal.

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