The NHL's two oldest franchises have played 728 times with Montreal holding a 335-293-88-12 record.
After 10 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, Babcock signed an eight-year contract worth a reported $50 million to coach the Maple Leafs, who have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967.
Babcock is not under the illusion that a quick fix is available for a franchise that has missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in nine of the past 10 seasons. On the day he was hired by the Maple Leafs he said, "If you think there's no pain coming, there's pain coming."
When reminded of that comment, veteran left wing James van Riemsdyk smiled and said playing for a new coach allows all the players to hit the restart button.
TORONTO -- The Montreal Canadiens will be looking to clinch first place in the Atlantic Division and home ice advantage in the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs when the play against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, TVA).
Montreal can secure the Atlantic Division with a win or overtime loss against Toronto. If the Canadiens lose in regulation, the Tampa Bay Lightning could clinch the division, and the second seed in the Eastern Conference, with a win against the Boston Bruins.
“As a team you always want to get to the highest point in the standings as you possibly can and we have an opportunity to get even higher than we are right now,” said Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban. “I think we have played a lot of good hockey this year and of late we have done a good job paying attention to the details that are going to make us a better hockey team come the post-season.”
All three teams are also in competition for a wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
The Senators held a 3-0 third period lead against the Capitals, but needed overtime to secure the victory. Ottawa center Kyle Turris decided the game with a breakaway goal, his 23rd of the season, at 3:14 of overtime. Going to extra time is nothing new for the Senators, who registered a 2-1 victoriy against the Red Wings on Tuesday in a shootout, and against the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime on Thursday.
TORONTO -- The Tampa Bay Lightning can take over first place in the Atlantic Division with a win Tuesday, but they may be without yet another key piece to their lineup.
Defenseman Victor Hedman is questionable to play against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre (7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SUN, TSN4) because of a lower-body injury.
Hedman left a 5-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday after one shift in the third period. The Lightning finished off a season sweep of the Canadiens to draw within one point of them in the Atlantic. Montreal is idle Tuesday. Each team has five regular-season games remaining.
The Lightning recalled defenseman Slater Koekkoek from Syracuse of the American Hockey League, and he could make his NHL debut if Hedman is unable to go.
Anderson, 33, has been nursing a deep bone bruise on his right hand and while he was out goalie Andrew Hammond took the hockey world by storm going 14-0-1 in his first 15 starts. Hammond is now out with a lower-body injury sustained in a collision with San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture on March 23.
"The plan is for me to get in tonight and give it a whirl," Anderson said after the morning skate. "I feel pretty good. I feel like it is where I need to be at this point of the weekend. We need to keep winning and playing well. For me, when you get out there and get in the moment you forget about everything else."
The Panthers (33-26-14) trail the Ottawa Senators by five points for the second wild card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, and allowed two third-period goals against the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 4-3 loss Tuesday.
"It was a tough loss the other night," Gallant said. "We really wanted those two points. But hey, you move on. We know we're still in the race. We've got nine games left and we know we have to win eight or nine of them. You've got to worry about the next game, not the one you just played."
Carrick, 23, will get another opportunity to do that when the Maple Leafs host the San Jose Sharks at Air Canada Centre on Thursday. Carrick was called up from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League to replace center Nazem Kadri, who was suspended four games by the NHL Department of Player Safety on Wednesday for an illegal check to the head of Matt Fraser of the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.
The Maple Leafs (27-38-6) have lost three straight games and their 60 points are second-fewest in the Eastern Conference. The Sharks (34-28-8) have lost two straight and are six points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference and six points behind the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division with 12 games remaining.
Carrick has been projected as a solid candidate to be the Maple Leafs’ checking-line center next season and he views his latest call-up as another chance to show management what he can do. It’s the fourth time this season Carrick has been summoned from the Marlies. In 10 NHL games he has no points and a minus-1 rating. In 50 AHL games he has seven goals, 25 points and 76 penalty minutes.
Van Riemsdyk had gone five straight games without registering a point when he scored a goal and had an assist in Toronto's 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Monday.
"Any time you score a goal in this League it is a good thing," van Riemsdyk said.
Although he normally plays on the No. 1 line with center Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel, van Riemsdyk was switched to a line with center Peter Holland and right wing Richard Panik against the Islanders. The trio provided the Maple Leafs (26-35-6) with significant energy and will remain together against the Sabres.
"We want JVR to be the power forward we know he can be," Toronto interim coach Peter Horachek said. "He took the puck to the net hard a few times against the Islanders. We need him to take more of a prominent role on the team."
Kennedy will make his debut with the Islanders when they play the Toronto Maple leafs at Air Canada Centre on Monday.
"I see huge similarities between Sid and [Tavares]," Kennedy said. "Both are very professional and they both want to win. It was one of the first things I noticed when I came here, how similar they are. They are both great players and [Tavares] is a huge leader, like Sid. He leads by example. He is the real deal."
Jokinen, 36, will make his debut with the Blues, who acquired him from Toronto on March 2. It will be the Blues' final stop on a five-game road trip that has seen them go 2-1-1 thus far.
"It was a quick stop here and I really liked my time here," Jokinen said. "The focus is now on St. Louis and I am trying to fit in here. I am looking forward to my first game with the Blues. It is pretty exciting."