NHL Preview from The Sports Network |
Saturday, October 11th
(All times eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (0-1-0-0) at Toronto Maple Leafs (0-0-0-0), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Old foes clash tonight when the Toronto Maple Leafs,
playing their season opener, host the Montreal Canadiens at Air Canada Centre.
Toronto enters this campaign after yet another playoff disappointment last
spring. The Maple Leafs lost a hard-fought seven-game series to Philadelphia
in the opening round.
The Leafs made some major acquisitions prior to last season's playoffs,
but the only one still with the team is winger Owen Nolan, who was obtained
from San Jose. This summer, the tweaking continued with veteran defensemen
Bryan Marchment and Ken Klee coming aboard, and the signing of three-time
Stanley Cup champion Joe Nieuwendyk.
As for what's already on the roster, Mats Sundin, Alexander Mogilny and Nolan
comprise a solid offensive nucleus, while goaltender Ed Belfour will try to
mirror his 2002-03 season that garnered him a Vezina nomination.
Toronto will host Washington on Monday before opening a five-game road trip
Thursday in New Jersey.
The Leafs have an all-time record of 33-39-14-0 in season openers, and a mark
of 42-29-15-0 in home openers.
Montreal, meanwhile, began its season with a 5-2 loss to host Ottawa on
Thursday. Ron Hainsey and Mike Ribeiro collected goals for Montreal, which
finished six points out of a playoff spot last season. Jose Theodore, trying
to re-gain the form that helped him win the Hart and Vezina Trophies in 2002,
made 23 saves for the Habs, who fell to 3-10-1 in their last 14 contests at
The Canadiens will begin a six-game homestand Tuesday versus Washington.
Toronto went 3-1-1 against Montreal last season and is 5-1-4 in the last 10
meetings. The Canadiens are 1-9-1 in their last 11 trips to Toronto.
10/11 10:13:02 ET