Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Tuesday, December 2nd
Game 2: Saturday, December 13th
Game 3: Thursday, January 8th
Game 4: Thursday, February 12th

Lightning 4

(17-15-1, 41 pts)

Canadiens 1

(20-16-2, 47 pts)

7:30 PM ET, January 8, 2004

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 2 3 T
TB 0 3 14
MTL 0 1 01

M. St. Louis (Lightning - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 2

F. Modin (Lightning - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

V. Lecavalier (Lightning - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Tampa Bay (16-15-6-1) at Montreal (20-15-5-2) 7:30 pm EST

MONTREAL (Ticker) -- The Montreal Canadiens look to close out a perfect homestand Thursday night when they entertain the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Canadiens have won the first three games of their homestand, outscoring opponents 12-3. They are unbeaten in their last six overall at the Bell Centre (5-0-1), where they are 12-7-3 this season.

Montreal also is trying to extend its overall winning streak to a season-best four games and unbeaten run to six. The Habs have gone 11-4-4-1 in their last 20 games to leap into fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Lightning have been headed in the opposite direction, going 5-13-4 since a franchise-best 11-2-2-1 start. They trounced Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia, 6-1, on Saturday before dropping a 5-2 decision in Ottawa on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay's biggest problem has been its inconsistent offense, which has been blanked twice in the past five games but has managed four goals or more twice in the last six contests.

Thursday marks the latest homecoming for Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, who are first and fourth, respectively, in scoring on the team. St. Louis has a team-best 20 assists and 32 points while Lecavalier has scored a club-high 13 goals.

The Lightning will have their work cut out for them against the Canadiens, who have allowed just one goal during each of their last five games (4-0-1). Goaltender Jose Theodore has played in six straight (4-0-1-1), yielding only seven goals.

Theodore also led the Habs to wins in each of the first two meetings with Tampa Bay this season, most recently a 5-2 road victory on December 13. The Lightning had won eight of the previous 13 games (8-3-2) against Montreal.