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Canadiens look to stay hot against Blue Jackets

Montreal (8-1-1) at Columbus (5-6-2), 7:00 pm EDT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- The Montreal Canadiens are off to

their best start in more than 30 years, and a major reason is

their prowess on the road.

Alexei Kovalev and the torrid Canadiens look to win their fifth

straight road game for the first time in 11 years when they

visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

Montreal hasn't won five consecutive road games since it

accomplished the feat from December 31, 1997 to January 12,

1998. The Canadiens are also off to their best start since

opening 9-2-0 in 1976-77, thanks in part to their current

three-game winning streak.

Kovalev sparked the Canadiens' latest success, a 5-4 victory

over the New York Islanders on Saturday. His second goal of the

game completed a four-goal rally in the third period as the

Canadiens took the second game of their four-game road trip and

improved to 4-0-1 away from home.

Montreal has avoided a regulation defeat through its first five

road games for the first time since starting 6-0-2 in 2005-06.

The Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres are the only remaining teams

without a regulation loss on the road.

The Blue Jackets bounced back from losing five of six - all

decided by two goals or less - to defeat the Edmonton Oilers,

5-4, on Wednesday.

They have received a boost from center Derick Brassard, who

leads all rookies with 12 points. Meanwhile, Jakub Voracek -

the seventh overall selection in last summer's draft - is tied

for second among first-year players with 10 points.

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