Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pregame Preview: Canadiens vs Maple Leafs (Game #62)

Match Up:

The Canadiens (33-21-7) play host to the rival Maple Leafs (32-22-7) Saturday night at the Bell Centre. The game is set to start at 7:00 and airs on RDS and CBC.

This is the fourth of five meetings between the Habs and Leafs, they'll meet again for the final time this season in three weeks at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The Leafs have picked up 2 wins in the 3 games so far, including a 5-3 victory in Toronto the last time these teams met. The Canadiens battled back from 1-0 and 3-1 deficits, but a late goal by James Van Riemsdyk eventually put the Leafs ahead for good.

What to Watch:

Peter Budaj will start his third consecutive game Saturday night as Carey Price recovers from a mysterious lower body injury. Budaj had a shaky start in Pittsburgh on Thursday but ended up one of the heroes as he stopped Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal in the shootout. Daniel Briere picked up goals number 10 and 11 on the season against the Penguins. He also added an assist in the 6-5 shootout win, bringing him up to 21 points on the season.

The Leafs dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the Islanders in their first game back after the Olympics. They were stung for 2 shorthanded goals and a late third period game tying marker against the lowly Isles. James Van Riemsdyk had 3 assists in the losing effort and fellow American Olympian, Phil Kessel, picked up a goal and an assist.

What's at Stake:

The Habs go into Saturday's game with a 2 point lead in the standings over the Maple Leafs with about a quarter of the season left to play. The Canadiens haven't played the best hockey since the Olympic break ended bur have still managed to pick up 3 of a possible 4 points. They have 9 points in their last 5 games and will want to keep that streak going against their longtime rivals.

Who's Out:

The Canadiens are still missing Carey Price (lower body) although he is expected to travel with the team next week for their West Coast road trip. Ryan White (illness) missed Thursday's game in Pittsburgh and practice on Friday. Brandon Prust (upper body), Michael Bournival (concussion) and Davis Drewiske (shoulder) are also out.

The Leafs are missing Dave Bolland (ankle).

What Else:

The Pregame Show will be broadcast live from Brutopia Brew Pub Saturday at 6 pm, following a special  edition of Murphy's Hockey Law starting at 4 pm also live from Brutopia. Guests on Murphy's Hockey Law will include Eric Engels from Hockeybuzz, Kevin Mcgran from the Toronto Star, Mike Zeisberger from the Toronto Sun, and Shane Murphy who will be in the house to perform an acoustic set.

The Question Mark:

We want to hear from you, do you think PK Subban has been treated fairly by Michel Therrien this season and are you satisfied with his development?

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.


I think PK should just concentrate on his game. He tries to carry the team on his back sometimes and then gets caught out of position or loses the puck. Everyone knows he is the best defenseman we have that can be both offensive and defensive since the days of Chris Chelios. I just hope MB doesn't do something stupid like Serge Savard did back in 1990 and trade him for a French star past his prime.

When PK tries to do too much, he gets exposed. Sometimes I feel he gets into stretches where he wants to go end to end and Bobby Orr himself a goal. With more experience will come more patience to better read when those opportunities exist, instead of forcing the issue.

Therrein wouldn't know how too treat a PeeWee player, let alone a SuperStar like PK. - 60 years a Hab fan - We definetly need a better coach. He is the worst in 60. JMD

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