Stars-Canadiens Preview

The Associated Press

While they've been excellent on the road, the Montreal Canadiens haven't fared nearly as well on home ice.

Back at the Bell Centre, the inconsistent Canadiens hope to avoid their fourth loss in five homes games Tuesday night when they face the Dallas Stars.

Montreal (7-5-0) continued its strong play on the road Monday, spoiling the New York Rangers' long-awaited home opener with a 2-0 victory. It was the second straight road shutout for the Canadiens, who have allowed only two goals during a four-game win streak there.

''All our D and forwards were doing the little things right,'' said Peter Budaj, who made 27 saves in his second start of the season. "'It does help tremendously when the team in front of you plays so well and blocks shots.''

It's been a much different story, however, at home, where Montreal has dropped three of its last four thanks in part to a struggling offense.

The Canadiens have registered just 47 shots in their last two home games, including a season-low 22 in Saturday's 2-0 loss to San Jose that capped a 2-3 homestand. After totaling 16 goals during a four-game winning streak, they've scored 10 times while averaging 27.0 shots over their last five.

Tomas Plekanec has tried to provide a lift with five goals and three assists in his last six games, but he has no points in five career meetings with the Stars (5-5-1).

Generating offense figures to be easier against a Dallas team that has allowed 22 goals in its last five road games.

Dan Ellis has been between the pipes in three of those contests, and he's likely to get another opportunity in this matchup with Kari Lehtonen expected to get the night off after starting Monday's 4-3 win at Buffalo.

Ellis has a 4.08 goals-against average while losing all three of his road starts.

Tyler Seguin, Alex Goligoski and Vernon Fiddler had first-period goals Monday and the Stars held on against the NHL's worst team to end a four-game road losing streak. They also gave coach Lindy Ruff a victory in his return to Buffalo after his 16-year tenure there ended with him being fired Feb. 20.

''Well, we couldn't just give it to him," joked Seguin, tied for the team lead with five goals. "We had to make sure he earned it. No, it was a good win. And we're moving on now.''

Seguin has plenty of experience facing the Canadiens after spending his first three seasons in Boston. He has three goals and eight points in his last five meetings.

Montreal figures to have Carey Price back in net following Peter Budaj's 27-save performance against the Rangers. Price, 5-5-0 with a 2.12 GAA, has allowed eight goals on 53 shots while dropping his last two meetings with the Stars.

He won't have to worry about Dallas winger Ryan Garbutt, who will serve the fourth of a five-game suspension for charging Anaheim forward Dustin Penner on Oct. 20.

The Stars have won two straight against the Canadiens, including a 3-0 victory in the most recent meeting Feb. 21, 2012.