The Canadiens (27-16-5) are in Toronto Saturday night to face the rival Maple Leafs (24-20-5) on Hockey Night in Canada. The game starts at 7:00 and airs on CBC and RDS.
It's the third of five meetings between these two original six teams, the Habs have already hosted the Leafs twice at the Bell Centre this year, splitting victories with the Leafs. Max Pacioretty had 2 goals and an assist in the last meeting, powering the Habs to a 4-2 victory.
What to Watch:
Montreal's offensive leaders, PK Subban, Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty each found the back of the net Thursday night in Ottawa, leading the Habs to a rocky 5-4 overtime win. Despite the 4 goals against, Carey Price was the team's biggest star against the Senators. Price had 40 save on the night include half a dozen highlight reel stops.
The Canadiens will have their hands full with Toronto's top line of Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk. Bozak missed over 20 games with injury but is up to 22 points in the 25 games he's played. Phil Kessel leads the Leafs with 22 goals and 24 assists. Kessel has lead the Leafs in points every season since 2009 when he joined the team.
What's at Stake:
The Habs have the opportunity to do something Saturday night that they've only done once since the second week of December, win back-to-back games. Toronto is just 6 points back on the Habs for third spot in the division, making Saturday's match up an important 4-point game.
The Canadiens are still without Alex Galchenyuk (hand), Ryan White (upper body) and Davis Drewiske (shoulder). Also questionable for Saturday's game are Lars Eller and Raphael Diaz, both battling a case of the flu. In response, Joonas Nattinen and Nathan Beaulieu have been recalled from Hamilton.
The Leafs are missing David Clarkson (elbow), Frazer McLaren (shoulder), Dave Bolland (ankle) and Trevor Smith (hand).
While the Canadiens will be doing battle with the Leafs, just down the road in Hamilton at the Copps Coliseum the Bulldogs will face off against the Utica Comets for Dskate Night. Dskate is a one-of-a-kind hockey camp for youths aged 8-16 with type-1 diabetes, they've partnered with the Hamilton Bulldogs to support JDRF, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the initiative was started by Montreal Hockey Talk's own Steven Hindle. The Bulldogs will be wearing Dskate and JDRF patches on their jersey's to mark the event. Learn more about Dskate on their website: https://dskatehockey.com/en/.
The Question Mark:
48 games into the season the Habs have 4 less points than they did during the lock-out shortened 2012-2013 campaign, but they've also gone up against tougher Western Conference opponents that they didn't have to play against last season. So, we want to hear from you, have the Habs improved, regressed or held steady since last season? Are some areas improving while others are regressing?
Let us know what you think, leave a comment or send us a tweet by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.
Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
10:35 AM Rob Elbaz 14 comments