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Kovalev, Canadiens look for third consecutive win

Montreal (20-9-6) at Tampa Bay (10-16-9), 7:30 p.m. EST

TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Alexei Kovalev finally scoring again

and the Montreal Canadiens are winning as a result.

Kovalev and the Canadiens seek their third straight victory when

they visit the lowly Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

After posting a 35-goal and 85-point campaign in 2007-08,

Kovalev has struggled mightily on the offensive end this season.

The 16-year veteran has nine goals and 19 assists thus far but

may have found a spark, netting a key goal in Montreal's 5-2

triumph over the Florida Panthers on Monday.

The Russian has picked up nine points in his last nine games and

ended a 19-game goalless drought in the process.

Though coach Guy Carbonneau had to be encouraged by Kovalev's

contribution, Maxim Lapierre stole the show Monday by recording

his first career hat trick in Montreal's 3,000th all-time

regular-season win.

With the victory, the Canadiens have now won four of their last

five games. Before that stretch, they dropped four of five and

fell in the standings of the tight Eastern Conference.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has won three straight contests after

notching victories twice in 19 games.

In the Lightning's latest game, captain Vincent Lecavalier

scored two second-period goals and set up another and Martin St.

Louis tallied and had three assists in a 6-4 win over the

Panthers on Saturday.

Ryan Malone recorded a goal and set up two others and Jussi

Jokinen notched two assists for the Lightning, whose only other

winning streak this season came when they won three in a row

from October 28-November 1.



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