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TONIGHT: LIGHTNING VS. CANADIENS

WHEN/WHERE: 7:30; Ice Palace, Tampa.

RADIO: WDAE-AM 620.

THE LOWDOWN: The Lightning is coming off a 5-3 loss to Toronto. It led 3-0 midway through the second period and 3-1 midway through the third. The loss was Tampa Bay's sixth in the past seven games. Dan Cloutier was expected to make his sixth consecutive start in goal. D Chris McAlpine is day-to-day after a concussion Saturday against Atlanta. F Dan Kesa missed the past three games with a groin strain but should be available. Montreal F Trent McCleary nearly died Saturday when he was struck in the throat with a puck. He is out of danger and recovering in stable condition at a Montreal hospital. The Canadiens also are missing key forwards Brian Savage (back) and Saku Koivu (shoulder). D Barry Richter (groin), D Vladimir Malakhov (torn Achilles' tendon), F Jim Cummins (ankle) and F Arron Ashman are questionable. F Oleg Petrov (knee) is out. The Habs, 5-2-2 in the past nine games, lost to Florida 3-1 Wednesday night. This is the first meeting of the season and Montreal's only visit. The Canadiens lead the series 11-10-4, but the Lightning has a 6-4-3 edge at home.

_ Compiled by Tom Jones.

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