The Canadiens (22-24-9) travel to Toronto to face the Leafs (28-21-6) for a classic Saturday night match-up. Game time is 7:00 pm and the match will air on RDS (HD) and CBC.
This will be the fourth of six meetings between the original six rivals. The Canadiens got their only win in the series when these teams last met on Jan. 21, Rene Bourque scored his first goal as a Hab in that game and Raphael Diaz potted the winner on a point shot in the third period.
What to Watch:
Scott Gomez finally found the back of the night Thursday night against the Isles, his first goal in just over a year. The power play marker put the Habs ahead by three midway through the third period, but ended up being the game winner after the Habs surrendered a pair of late game goals. As impressive as Gomez’s performance was, it pales in comparison to the recent play of Max Pacioretty. Patches earned a hat trick in Thursday’s game, bringing his goal total for this year up to 22.
Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul continue to be the Leafs’ most dangerous offensive threats. Both are riding four game point streaks heading into Saturday’s game, Kessel has four goals and five assists in that span while Lupul has a pair of goals and four assists.
What’s at Stake:
Saturday night the Canadiens will be on a mission to do something they’ve only done once this season, win a fourth game in a row. The team also hasn’t given up hope on making the playoffs. They’re currently nine points out of eighth place in the East, with Toronto holding down that spot for the moment.
The Canadiens recalled Aaron Palushaj from Hamilton in time for Thursday’s game, but he was a healthy scratch regardless against the Isles. Brian Gionta (arm), Andrei Markov (knee), Michael Blunden (knee), Petteri Nokelainen (upper body) and Yannick Weber (knee) are all still injured.
The Maple Leafs are fully healthy heading into Saturday’s game.
Gary Bettman announced last week that the Toronto Maple Leafs would be participating in next year’s NHL Winter Classic. New Year’s Day, 2013, the Leafs will be in Detroit to face the Red Wings at Michigan Stadium, also known as “The Big House.” This will be the first outdoor game for the Leafs, and the first time a Canadian team will be included in the Winter Classic. Detroit has already participated in one outdoor game, they beat the Blackhawks 6-4 at Chicago’s Wrigley Field in 2009.
Montreal has played in a pair of outdoor games. They beat the Oilers 4-3 in Edmonton in the 2003 Heritage Classic but lost 4-0 to the Flames in Calgary in the 2011 game. Eastern Canada has yet to host an outdoor game
Be sure to tune into Montrealhockeytalk.com before and after the match for the Drive to the Game with Matt and Matt and the Montreal Hockey Talk Post Game Show.