(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Thrashers look to avenge a recent loss to the Montreal Canadiens when the two teams face off tonight in a key Eastern Conference matchup from Philips Arena.
The Canadiens dealt Atlanta a 4-2 defeat in Montreal on January 9, led by a two-goal, one-assist performance by the Habs' Michael Ryder. That setback was part of a five-game losing streak for the Southeast Division-leading Thrashers, but the club has since rebounded to win its last two contests.
After coming through with a 4-3 shootout victory at rival Carolina on Saturday, the Thrashers returned home and easily handled Los Angeles by a 6-2 count on Tuesday.
Marian Hossa notched his second hat trick of the season to lead the way, while Glen Metropolit added a goal and an assist for Atlanta. Kari Lehtonen stopped 28 shots in net.
Hossa is now tied for the NHL lead with 29 goals, along with Tampa Bay's duo of Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier and Anaheim's Teemu Selanne.
The Thrashers, who currently lead second-place Carolina by five points in the Southeast, are 12-5-4 at home for the season.
Montreal is currently in a rut, as the Habs have lost three consecutive games and six of their last eight outings. The slide has allowed Ottawa to pass the Canadiens for second place in the Northeast Division.
ATLANTA (AP) - Montreal broke out of its scoring slump, finding the net for the first time in three games, and all-star Cristobal Huet made 44 saves to lead the Canadiens past the Atlanta Thrashers 4-1 Thursday night.
Coming off two straight shutouts, the Canadiens won for just the fifth time in 14 games, taking control early in the second period after two Atlanta players were sent to the penalty box about a minute apart.
Garnet Exelby was called for holding and Shane Hnidy went off for delay of game after the officials ruled that he intentionally flipped the puck over the glass. The Canadiens seized their chance, scoring twice in 46 seconds for a 3-1 lead.
Huet was singled out by coach Guy Carbonneau for letting in two soft goals during a 4-0 loss to Vancouver on Tuesday. This time, there were no complaints about the goalie's performance.
When Ilya Kovalchuk broke in all alone during a line change with about 12 minutes remaining, Huet kicked away the shot with his right pad. Glen Metropolit picked up the rebound along the boards and shot again, but Huet smothered it against his stomach.
The Canadiens went ahead for good 17 seconds into their two-man advantage.
Sheldon Souray fired a shot from the top of the circle that somehow got through two Thrashers coming out to block it. Goalie Keri Lehtonen never saw the puck, which might have been deflected by his teammates.
Exelby returned to the ice, but Montreal wasn't done with Atlanta still down a player. Guillaume Latendresse's shot was stopped by Lehtonen, but Souray dug out the rebound and flipped it to the side of the net. Tomas Plekanec fired it past the helpless goalie, still sprawled on the ice.
Sergei Samsonov finished off a spurt of three goals in six minutes, 40 second when he fooled Lehtonen from behind the net.