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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, March 13th (All times eastern)

Toronto Maple Leafs (38-21-9-3) at Montreal Canadiens (37-26-6-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of bitter Northeast Division rivals face-off this evening at the Bell Centre, when the Toronto Maple Leafs tangle with the Montreal Canadiens.

Toronto is tied with Ottawa for second in the Northeast Division with 88 points. The Maple Leafs are just one point back of the Boston Bruins for the division advantage and the third seed in the East.

The Maple Leafs are coming off a tough 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday at Air Canada Centre. Joe Nieuwendyk and Mats Sundin scored for Toronto, which concluded a six-game homestand with a 4-2 mark.

Trevor Kidd faced only 17 shots, but made just 14 saves in the losing effort. Kidd fell to 5-5-2 in 12 games between the pipes this season.

Ron Francis made his debut for the Leafs after being traded from Carolina on Tuesday. Francis managed just one shot on goal in 12 minutes of ice time.

Toronto, which is beginning a short two-game road trip, has lost its last two contests in foreign buildings. For the season, the Maple Leafs are 18-9-7-1 on the road.

Montreal lurks in the seventh slot in the East with 83 points. The Canadiens are two points behind sixth place New Jersey and seven points ahead of the eighth place New York Islanders.

The Montreal Canadiens were handed a 3-2 overtime setback by the Florida Panthers on Thursday night at the Bell Centre. Yanic Perreault and Francis Bouillon produced the goals for Montreal, which had won three straight prior to the contest.

Goaltender Mathieu Garon made 29 saves for the Canadiens in the contest. Montreal has still won eight of its last 10 contests.

All five goals in the game were scored at even strength. Montreal had four power-play chances, while Florida had five opportunities with the extra skater.

The Canadiens have tallied a point in five consecutive home tilts (4-0-0-1). For the year, Montreal is 19-11-4-1 at the Bell Centre.

Toronto has dominated this series as of late, winning four straight and seven of the last eight dating back to last season. The Maple Leafs won the squads' most recent meeting, 5-4, at Air Canada Centre on February 21. Toronto is 6-1-3 in its last 10 trips to Montreal.

03/13 10:09:39 ET

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