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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 December 15.

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 Carolina.

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


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