Canadiens welcome Blue Jackets to the Bell Centre

A battle of last-place clubs will take place tonight at the Bell Centre, as the Montreal Canadiens play host to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Canadiens are last in the Northeast Division and will also welcome Vancouver to Quebec, where they are 4-5-4 this season. Montreal ended a four- game losing streak its last time out with a 2-1 win at Los Angeles in the finale of a three-game road trip on Saturday.

Andrei Kostitsyn scored the deciding goal in the second period and Tomas Plekanec notched the other goal for the Canadiens, who got 26 saves from Carey Price. Price mentioned how important it was to end the slide after the game.

"Very precious two points there," Price admitted. "The guys played well defensively. We didn't play well on the road trip so we needed this win."

Prior to the game, Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier revealed that defenseman Andrei Markov will have arthroscopic knee surgery some time in the next few days and will miss a minimum of three more weeks.

Habs forward Max Pacioretty is probable for Tuesday's game after serving a three-game suspension for his hit on Pittsburgh's Kris Letang in a 4-3 overtime loss on Nov. 26. Letang suffered a broken nose on the play.

Columbus is last in the Central Division and will close out a four-game road trip tonight. It is 1-2-0 on the swing and 2-9-2 as the visitor this season.

In a 6-3 setback at Edmonton on Friday, Derek Dorsett scored twice and Mark Letestu added a goal for the Blue Jackets, who were scorched for five goals in the third period. Curtis Sanford gave up five goals on 33 shots. Dorsett registered the first multi-goal game of his NHL career.

"They came out fast in the third, but I don't think we did anything to change our game plan," Sanford said after his team blew a 2-1 lead entering the final period. "It just seemed like they got momentum."

After opening the season 2-12-1, Columbus has posted a 5-4-2 mark its last 11 games and will open a five-game homestand Thursday versus the Predators, Bruins, Canucks, Kings and Lightning. The Jackets have earned points in four of their last six road games (2-2-2) after posting an 0-7-0 mark in the season's first seven games away from Nationwide Arena.

Columbus star Rick Nash has points in five of the last eight games. Jeff Carter is questionable for tonight's game with a nagging lower-body injury.

The Blue Jackets defeated Montreal, 3-0, in last year's meeting on Nov. 2 at home and have won three of the past four meetings between the teams.