MAPLE LEAFS (1-3-2) @ CANADIENS (8-0-0)
TV: CBC, TVA Sports - 7:00 pm
The Toronto Maple Leafs are in town for a classic Saturday night tilt against the only undefeated team remaining in the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens.
The Canadiens played the first of two back-to-back games Friday night in Buffalo, lighting the lamp seven times to earn their eighth consecutive victory of the season. After jumping out to an early 2-0 lead, the Canadiens found themselves tied at 2-2 in the second period. With the game deadlocked, the Canadiens turned on the offensive firepower to take control of the game, extending their unbeaten streak.
In total, six different Habs scored more than one point including Brendan Gallagher (2G), Tomas Plekanec (3A), Dale Weise (2G), Max Pacioretty (1G, 1A), PK Subban (3A) and finally the star of the evening Andrei Markov (1G, 4A). David Desharnais, Tomas Fleischmann and Torrey Mitchell also added their names to the score sheet in the high scoring affair. For his part, Mike Condon did his job brilliantly, stopping 34 of the 36 shots he faced, earning his second win in as many career NHL games.
On the Maple Leafs side, the team enjoyed a two day break without games, having faced the Sabres on Wednesday night. Mike Babcock's lineup was beaten 2-1 in a shootout. Sabres forward Matt Moulson sealed the victory for Buffalo in the shootout, beating Jonathan Bernier, who was nevertheless named third star of the game because of his 34 save performance. The Leafs have endured their share of difficulties since the beginning of this campaign with a 1-3-2 record, which currently has the team sitting in last place in the Atlantic Division.
Carey Price will make his return the Habs’ crease after Mike Condon got the nod against the Sabres, in just his second career NHL start. Price, recently named the NHL’s first star of the week after posting a perfect 3-0-0 record featuring a GAA of 1.33 and a save percentage of .962, looks for his seventh consecutive win to start the season.
In their most recent game, a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Sabres Wednesday night, the Maple Leafs managed to extend the game into overtime despite being outshot 35-24. Though Goaltender Jonathan Bernier was bested by Matt Moulson in the shootout, the Laval, Quebec native’s 34-save performance was enough to earn him the 3rd star of the game.
Last year, Price was masterful against the Maple Leafs, winning all four games with a goals against average of 1.69 and save percentage a strong 93.5%.
Saturday's game will mark the second of four contests between the two teams this season. The Canadiens took the first game of the season series by a score of 3-1 in the season opener on October 7, 2015.