NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, January 8th (All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (16-18-6) at Montreal Canadiens (23-10-6), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - One of the most intense rivalries in all of professional sports will resume tonight as the Montreal Canadiens host the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre.
The Original Six foes have faced off twice this season, but this marks the first meeting in Montreal. The clubs split the first two encounters of the year and Toronto has taken three of the last five meetings in the series. However, the Leafs have dropped two of three and five of seven matchups in Quebec.
Montreal is currently second in the Northeast Division with 52 points, while Toronto is fourth and 14 points behind.
The Canadiens head into tonight's test on a hot streak, as they've won two straight and five of their last six contests.
Montreal played Wednesday night against the New York Rangers and earned the road victory at Madison Square Garden. Robert Lang registered his second career hat trick, as the Canadiens doubled up the Blueshirts, 6-3, in another Original Six clash.
Andrei Markov had a power-play goal and picked up an assist for the Habs, who have also won seven of their last nine games. Roman Hamrlik collected three assists, while Jaroslav Halak made 36 saves to earn the win.
Halak could be back in net tonight as No. 1 goaltender Carey Price is doubtful this evening with a groin injury. Halak has started the last three games for the Canadiens and is 7-6-1 on the season.
Montreal is playing the first of two straight at home tonight and will also host Washington on Saturday. The Habs are 12-4-4 as the host this year and have won three of their last four home tests.
The Maple Leafs have lost five of their last seven games and are coming off Tuesday's setback to visiting Florida. Tomas Vokoun made 24 saves to help the Panthers grab the 4-2 victory at Air Canada Centre.
Alexei Ponikarovsky and Jason Blake each had a goal for the Maple Leafs, while Vesa Toskala gave up four goals on 34 shots.
Toronto made a move on Wednesday as it announced the acquisition of forward Brad May from the Anaheim Ducks for a conditional sixth round draft pick in 2010.
The 37-year-old May, a member of the 2007 Stanley Cup champion Ducks, has played in 20 games for Anaheim this season, collecting five assists with 28 penalty minutes and has registered a plus-five rating.
Tonight marks the first of two straight on the road for Toronto, which is 8-10-2 as the visitor this season and has lost its last two games as the guest.
01/08 10:49:56 ET