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Kovalev hopes to end slump against former team

NY Rangers (18-8-2) at Montreal (14-6-4), 7:00 pm EST

MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Alexei Kovalev hopes a visit from his

former team can help him find the back of the net again.

Kovalev is seeking his first goal in over a month as the

Montreal Canadiens square off against the New York Rangers on

Thursday.

The 35-year-old Kovalev, who had two different stints with the

Rangers - spanning parts of nine seasons, has not scored in the

last 14 games after netting a pair of goals on November 1.

A 15-year veteran, Kovalev has helped keep the Canadiens

competitive. He had two assists during Tuesday's 5-4 victory

over the Atlanta Thrashers. The Russian right wing has five

goals and 18 points with a plus-1 rating on the season.

The Rangers will enter the contest with plenty of momentum after

a 3-2 comeback win over the Pittsburgh Penguins gave them four

wins in their last five games.

Petr Prucha netted his first goal in nearly a year to tie the

game late in the third period and all three shooters scored in

the shootout as New York overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the

Penguins for the second time in as many chances.

Markus Naslund, Nikolai Zherdev and Fredrik Sjostrom each

tallied in the bonus format for the Rangers, who own the

league's best penalty kill at 89.5 percent.

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