Habs host Coyotes aiming for 6th straight win

(SportsNetwork.com) – The Montreal Canadiens hope to match their longest
winning streak of the season and extend a lengthy home point streak over
Arizona on Sunday afternoon as they welcome the Coyotes to Bell Centre.

The Canadiens have won five in a row, including two straight 1-0 decisions
that have been anchored by a Carey Price shutout and a game-winning goal from
Max Pacioretty.

Pacioretty scored with 4:17 left in regulation and Price made 24 saves in
Thursday’s 1-0 win over the New York Rangers, and Pacioretty had the only goal
on Saturday afternoon in an overtime decision versus the Washington Capitals.

Pacioretty scored with 1:52 on the clock as he chipped in a feed from Tomas

“It was a great play by Plekanec,” Pacioretty said. “When you go to the net,
good things happen.”

Price was up to the task as well, making 36 saves for his fourth shutout of
the season and 29th of his career, which tied him with Patrick Roy for fifth
on the club’s all-time shutout list.

Montreal has gone 15-3-1 since Dec. 9, a span that includes a season high-
tying six-game win streak from Dec. 20-Jan. 3, and remained tied with Detroit
for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Canadiens are one point behind
the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning, who like the Red Wings are idle today.

It is unknown if Price will start again today or if backup Dustin Tokarski
will face the Coyotes for the first time. Price is a perfect 6-0-0 in six
previous meetings with Arizona, posting a 1.65 goals against average and .944
save percentage.

The Habs had won nine in a row in this series before losing the most recent
encounter on the road 5-2 on March 6 of last year.

The Canadiens, though, are 7-0-0 with two ties in their past nine meetings
with Arizona in Montreal and 20-0-1 with two ties over the past 23 as the
hosting club.

The Coyotes franchise has not picked up a regulation win in Montreal since
March 14, 1985 when they were still known as the Winnipeg Jets. They did notch
a 5-4 overtime victory at Bell Centre on Oct. 28, 1996.

That makes today’s game a tough spot to end their recent struggles as the
Coyotes are 1-3-2 on an eight-game road trip with losses in eight of their
past nine overall.

Arizona was facing only a one-goal deficit going into the third period on
Saturday afternoon against Ottawa, but the Sens exploded for four goals in the
final frame to hand the Coyotes a 7-2 loss.

Mike Smith allowed five Senators goals on 20 shots against him before getting
the hook in the third period. Louis Domingue made his NHL debut in relief,
giving up two goals on 11 shots over 17 minutes and 43 seconds of action. He
was recalled from Portland of the American Hockey League before the game.

“In the end, it was embarrassing,” said Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek,
who scored along with Sam Gagner. “That’s not how we want to play.”

Arizona head coach Dave Tippett took it further, placing blame on Smith and
the club’s overall discipline.

“Bottom line is your goaltender has to be good for you. Ours wasn’t very good
tonight,” said Tippett. “We gave up too many chances. Once you get behind, you
start chasing the game and you look like an ugly team.”

Tippett’s words seem to suggest that Domingue will make his first career NHL
start. The 22-year-old was a fifth-round pick in 2010.

Forward Martin Hanzal did not play on Saturday due to an upper-body injury,
joining Joe Vitale (upper body) and Mikkel Boedker (spleen) on the sidelines.