NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, February 26th
(All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (30-23-9) at Montreal Canadiens (32-26-6), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - One of the best rivalries in sports resumes this evening,
as the Montreal Canadiens open the doors of the Bell Centre for a battle with
the Toronto Maple Leafs.
This series between two of the Original Six franchises is always heated, but
should be aided for the rest of the year by a close Eastern Conference playoff
race. Montreal has 70 points and is tied with the New York Islanders for the
eighth and final postseason berth in the East, while the Maple Leafs are just
one point behind in ninth place.
The Canadiens were in action against the Isles on Saturday and had a three-
game win streak halted. New York earned the 3-2 home victory as Frans Nielsen
had a goal and an assist for his first NHL points.
Sheldon Souray and Chris Higgins each scored for the Canadiens, who have
dropped seven of their last 10 games. Saku Koivu had two assists and Jaroslav
Halak made 28 saves for Montreal.
The Canadiens, who are 18-12-3 as the host club this year, will begin a five-
game road trip Tuesday against the New York Rangers.
Toronto, meanwhile, is coming into tonight's test on a winning note after
disposing of the Flyers in Philadelphia on Saturday. Jeff O'Neill and Alex
Steen both had a goal and an assist, as the Leafs rolled to the 5-2 triumph at
the Wachovia Center.
Chad Kilger, Mats Sundin and John Pohl also scored for the Maple Leafs, who
had dropped two straight and five of their last seven games (2-2-3) entering
Bryan McCabe notched three assists for Toronto, which is wrapping up a three-
game road trip tonight. The Maple Leafs are a solid 18-10-4 as the visitor
Sundin has 387 goals as a Maple Leaf and is now just two away from tying Hall-
of-Famer Darryl Sittler for the franchise record.
Toronto has the upper hand in the series with the Habs this year, winning
three of the five matchups so far. However, these clubs have split the last 14
02/26 11:06:11 ET