NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, October 6th (All times eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (1-0-0) at Toronto Maple Leafs (0-1-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - One of the fiercest rivalries in all of sports resumes this evening in Toronto, as the Maple Leafs host the hated Montreal Canadiens at Air Canada Centre.
This is the first of eight regular-season meetings between the Northeast Division rivals. The Leafs and Canadiens have split the season series in each of the past two seasons, but Montreal has dropped three straight and five of its last seven games in Toronto.
Also, the Canadiens were knocked out of the playoff picture last year by losing on the final day of the season to the Maple Leafs. Montreal is sure to have that on the back of its mind in tonight's contest.
The Habs began the 2007-08 campaign on a good note, as they outlasted the Hurricanes in Carolina on Wednesday night. Saku Koivu beat Cam Ward on the power play for his second goal of the game, just over a minute into the overtime period, giving the Canadiens a 3-2 victory at the RBC Center.
Niclas Wallin was whistled to the penalty box for cross checking 46 seconds into overtime, and the Canadiens made the Hurricanes pay. With 3:55 remaining in the extra session, Michael Ryder found Koivu below the right circle for a shot that sailed over Ward's left shoulder and gave Montreal the road victory.
Andrei Markov had a pair of assists, goaltender Cristobal Huet stopped 29 of 31 shots, and Mark Streit had a first period goal for Montreal.
After tonight's test, Montreal is off until Wednesday, when it visits the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Canadiens won't play in front of their home crowd until next Saturday's tilt against the Hurricanes.
The Maple Leafs had a tough task to begin the season, as they opened their schedule with a home-and-home series against Ottawa, the defending Eastern Conference champions.
Toronto earned a point at home in a season-opening overtime loss on Wednesday, but was defeated in regulation Thursday night in Ottawa. The Senators posted a 3-2 victory in the most-recent meeting behind a pair of goals from Daniel Alfredsson.
Mats Sundin scored his 389th goal as a Maple Leaf, tying the all-time team record held by Darryl Sittler. Sundin needs four more points to match Sittler for the club's all-time point lead.
Matt Stajan notched Toronto's other goal and Alexander Steen, Hal Gill and Jason Blake had the assists for the Leafs, who came up empty (0-for-7) on the power play for the second straight night. Toronto has failed on 14 opportunities with the man advantage this year.
Vesa Toskala made his first start in net for Toronto and stopped 26-of-29 shots. Toskala was acquired in a trade with San Jose in the offseason.
10/06 10:17:32 ET