The road hasn't been kind to the Montreal Canadiens recently. A rare trip to Chicago might not help change things.
The Canadiens look to avoid a fifth straight road loss when they visit the Blackhawks on Friday night in a matchup of Original Six teams.
Montreal (6-6-0) was a riding a four-game winning streak when it lost 6-1 to defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The loss was the fourth straight on the road for the Canadiens, who are 2-4 away from the Bell Centre.
Montreal has struggled on both ends of the ice during the skid, being outscored 20-7 while allowing opponents to score on six of 14 power-play chances.
The Penguins took 37 shots and scored twice with the man advantage. Tomas Plekanec scored and has a goal and four assists in a four-game points streak for the Canadiens, who had scored 13 goals in their previous three contests.
"We made mistakes, we had some turnovers" Montreal defenseman Hal Gill said.
Montreal can't afford too many mistakes against Chicago, (7-3-1), which despite losing 2-0 at lowly Nashville on Thursday, has won two straight at home where it's 5-2-1 this season.
The Canadiens have visited the United Center only three times this decade, but not since a 2-1 loss on Oct. 18, 2006. Montreal has won its last two over the Blackhawks, including 4-1 at the Bell Center on March 31 in the only meeting between the teams last season.
Though backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak suffered his first loss Wednesday after winning four straight, Carey Price could be back in net for this contest.
Price, who's 2-4-0 with a 3.50 goals-against average and hasn't started since Oct. 17, made 12 saves after Halak allowed four goals in two periods against the Penguins.
While Halak has never faced Chicago, Price made 28 saves in his only career appearance against the Blackhawks in March.
Chicago's Cristobal Huet, who's 4-3-1 with a 2.32 GAA this season, could be in goal against his former team.
Huet went 58-39-13 with a 2.53 GAA and 11 shutouts in roughly 2 1/2 seasons for the Canadiens before being traded to Washington in February 2008. He's 0-2-0 with a 3.54 GAA against his former team, but lost despite making 29 saves against Montreal last season.
After allowing one goal in his previous two starts -- both home wins -- Huet made 27 saves Thursday, but received no offensive support.
With this back-to-back scenario and five days off to follow, coach Joel Quenneville could give Huet some extended rest and start Antti Niemi. The rookie, who's never faced Montreal, is 3-1-0 with a 2.07 GAA this season.
Though the Central Division-leading Blackhawks average 3.0 goals per game, they've scored seven in their last four contests. Chicago managed 22 shots against the Predators -- its second-lowest total of the season.
"We didn't cash in on our opportunities," Quenneville said.
Patrick Sharp, who scored in last season's loss to Montreal, is tied for the team lead with five goals, but has been held to one assist in his last six games since recording a goal in a 4-3 win over Edmonton on Oct. 14.