The Canadiens (30-35-16) are home Saturday to finish up the season against the Maple Leafs (35-36-10). The game starts at 7:00 and airs on RDS (HD) and CBC.
This is the sixth meeting between these teams this season, they’ve played twice already in Montreal and three times in Toronto. The home team has only won once in this series, the Leafs beat the Habs in the opening game of the season, a 2-0 victory in the Air Canada Centre.
What to Watch:
The Habs may be at the bottom of the East, but certain players have excelled in their areas of expertise. Josh Gorges leads the league with 246 blocked shots, 49 more than Tampa’s Brett Clark in second. Alexei Emelin has shown what he can do this season as well, he’s cracked the top 15 in hits with 236 checks in 67 games.
Toronto is led offensively by Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. Kessel has 37 goals and 45 assists this year, career highs in both categories and his fourth straight season reaching 30 or more goals. Lupul has 67 points (25g, 42a) in 66 games including two goals and three assists in his last four but missed the last month of play with a shoulder injury.
What’s at Stake:
The season ends Saturday for both the Habs and the Leafs, neither has a chance at making the playoffs. The Canadiens have the least home wins in the league, with just 15 victories at the Bell Centre. They’ll want to give their fans a good show Saturday in the season finale against their historic rivals.
Tomas Kaberle returned to the Habs’ lineup Thursday after missing 10 games but Alexei Emelin (lower body) was forced to miss that match. He joined Carey Price (concussion), Scott Gomez (concussion), Brian Gionta (arm), Yannick Weber (knee), Mathieu Darche (Ear), Travis Moen (upper body), Petteri Nokelainen (upper body), Ryan White (flu) and Raphael Diaz (lower body) in the Canadiens’ clinic.
The Leafs are missing goalie James Reimer (head), Joffrey Lupul (shoulder), Nikolai Kulemin (finger) and Karl Gunnarson (shoulder). Jonas Gustavsonn (lower body) and Mikhail Grabovski (leg) are day-to-day.
The Canadiens can finish as low as 29th in the league if they earn no points in this game and if Edmonton beats the Canucks in their final game, otherwise they will end the season 28th. Either way the team will get a top five in the next draft, and will likely draft in the top three. Toronto is currently tied with Minnesota for 25th place, depending what happens in other matches around the league they could end as high as 24th or as low as 27th.
Be sure to tune into Montrealhockeytalk.com after the match for the Montreal Hockey Talk Post Game Show.