NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, February 7th
(All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (21-25-9) at Montreal Canadiens (29-16-9), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - One of the biggest rivalries in all of professional sports
will resume tonight in Montreal, as the Canadiens invite the Toronto Maple
Leafs for a battle at the Bell Centre.
The Habs and Maple Leafs are playing the sixth of eight regular-season
meetings tonight, but this is the first time the clubs are meeting since
Montreal has won three of the five encounters with the Leafs this season and
has taken five of eight and six of the last 10 encounters. Toronto has also
been handed losses in six of its last eight stops at the Bell Centre.
The Canadiens come into tonight's contest just one point behind Ottawa for
first place in the Northeast Division. The Senators, who have 68 points, will
also be playing this evening, as they welcome the Florida Panthers to town.
Toronto is last in the Northeast with just 51 points and only Tampa Bay has
less points in the East with 49.
On Tuesday, Montreal won a huge battle in its quest for the top spot in the
Northeast and the Eastern Conference as it notched a close win over the
Senators. Tomas Plekanec recorded a pair of goals and added an assist to lead
the Habs to the 4-3 home win over Ottawa.
Andrei Kostitsyn picked up a goal and two helpers for the Canadiens, who
recovered from a loss Sunday to the Rangers.
Mark Streit also lit the lamp while Cristobal Huet made 26 saves for the win.
Tonight marks the finale of a four-game homestand for the Canadiens, who are
12-9-5 as the host club this year.
Meanwhile, the Leafs lost for the fourth time in five games Tuesday, as they
were destroyed by the visiting Florida Panthers, 8-0. Richard Zednik recorded
a hat trick and Tomas Vokoun stopped all 24 shots he faced in Florida's
blowout win at Air Canada Centre.
Toronto goaltender Vesa Toskala started the game and allowed four goals on 15
shots before he was pulled midway through the game. Andrew Raycroft actually
fared a bit worse, as he also surrendered four goals on 11 shots in the loss.
The Leafs were without second-leading scorer Nik Antropov in the loss, who was
serving the second test of a three-game suspension for throwing his stick at
game officials at the conclusion of last Thursday's 3-2 overtime loss at
Toronto is just 9-15-4 as the visiting team this season and has lost three
straight and nine of its last 10 road tilts.
02/07 10:47:41 ET