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Saturday, January 27th (All times eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (27-17-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (22-21-6), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Two bitter rivals will get together once again tonight at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, where the Maple Leafs host the Montreal Canadiens in the first game following the All-Star break for both clubs.

Montreal had the more successful first half of the teams. The Habs have 59 points on the season, the fourth-best total in the Eastern Conference, and reside in second place in the rugged Northeast Division. Toronto, which has compiled 50 points, is currently two behind Pittsburgh for the East's final playoff spot.

The Canadiens went into the lull by winning their two most recent games, including last Saturday's 4-3 triumph over Northeast-leading Buffalo at the Bell Centre. Michael Ryder re-directed teammate Alexander Perezhogin's pass by the Sabres' Ryan Miller with just 2:53 remaining in regulation for the game- winning score.

Guillaume Latendresse, Francis Bouillon and Saku Koivu each added goals for Montreal, which had lost three in a row prior to the back-to-back wins. All- Star goaltender Cristobal Huet finished with 24 saves.

Huet played the third period of Wednesday's All-Star Game and turned away 8- of-10 shots in the Eastern Conference's 12-9 defeat. Defenseman Sheldon Souray started for the East and contributed a goal and an assist.

Toronto has a week off to regroup from last Saturday's pounding at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mark Recchi registered his seventh career hat trick and rookie sensation Evgeni Malkin racked up a personal-best five assists to lead the Pens to an 8-2 rout at Mellon Arena.

Maple Leafs goaltender Andrew Raycroft was shelled for five goals on 21 shots through two periods. He gave way to Jean-Sebastien Aubin, who stopped only six-of-nine shots in relief.

Jeff O'Neill and Brendan Bell had the goals for Toronto, which saw a four-game road win streak come to an end.

The Leafs have lost three straight and six of their last eight at home and are a disappointing 10-12-3 at the Air Canada Centre this season.

Montreal and Toronto have split four previous meetings in 2006-07. The Habs are just 5-14 with one tie in their last 20 visits to Ontario, but have posted a 3-2-1 mark at the ACC since the start of the 2005-06 campaign.

01/27 10:29:32 ET


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