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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, April 4th (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (40-27-10) at Toronto Maple Leafs (32-33-13), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will continue their push for the playoffs against a bitter rival, as they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs for tonight's clash at Air Canada Centre.

The Canadiens are currently the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference with 90 points on the season. With five games left, Montreal is just one point ahead of the New York Rangers for the East's eighth and final postseason berth.

The Habs and Leafs are meeting for the final time this year, and Toronto, which has won three of the five encounters so far, will try to clinch the season series tonight. Montreal has dropped two of three and six of its last nine road games against the Maple Leafs.

Montreal has helped its postseason chances lately, as the Canadiens have won two straight and four of their last five games. The Habs have recorded at least a point in five straight contests, going 4-0-1 over that stretch.

The Canadiens were in action Thursday and recorded an easy road win over the lowly New York Islanders. Saku Koivu and Andrei Markov each tallied a goal and an assist, as the Habs clobbered the Isles, 5-1, at Nassau Coliseum.

Alex Tanguay, Mathieu Schneider and Michael Komisarek also scored for the Canadiens, who had lost five straight games prior to recording four wins in their last five outings.

Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves in place of Carey Price, who missed the game with the flu. Halak is expected to get another start tonight as Price is considered day-to-day with the illness.

Alex Kovalev also recorded three assists in Thursday's win and has six goals and five helpers during a five-game point streak. Koivu has also notched a point in five straight and has three goals and five assists during his run.

Montreal is playing the second of two straight on the road and is just 16-19-3 as the visiting club this season.

While the hated Habs are playing for a postseason berth, Toronto has been reduced to a spoiler role. The Maple Leafs are coming off a home-and-home split with Philadelphia, winning the home portion on Wednesday before losing Friday's test in the City of Brotherly Love.

The Flyers recorded an 8-5 victory over the Leafs on Friday as Jeff Carter notched the first hat trick of his career and added an assist to lead the way for Philadelphia.

Nikolai Kulemin had a goal and two assists while Luke Schenn and Jamal Mayers each added a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs, who have lost three of their last four.

Martin Gerber and Curtis Joseph each saw time in net, with Gerber giving up six goals on 30 shots and Joseph allowing two goals on five shots.

Toronto is just 15-14-9 as the host this year, but has won three of its last four on home ice.

04/04 11:07:00 ET


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