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Game Preview: Maple Leafs @ Canadiens

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MAPLE LEAFS (23-29-4) @ CANADIENS (35-15-4)

The Canadiens and the Maple Leafs will meet for the first time since the season-opener on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

Back in early October, the Habs secured a 4-3 victory at the Air Canada Centre as Tomas Plekanec scored the game-winner with the just 43 seconds remaining in regulation time. Plekanec, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and Alexei Emelin each registered two-point nights.

For their part, the Maple Leafs have struggled as of late. They currently sit 25th in the league with a record of 23-29-4. Their decision to change head coaches at the beginning of January hasn’t paid dividends as Toronto has dropped 14 of 16 games since Randy Carlyle was fired.

Last Saturday, Peter Horachek’s contingent put an end to a string of 11 straight losses. They were blanked four times during that streak.

Carey Price will be back between the pipes for the Canadiens after Dustin Tokarski went up against the Oilers. Price has given up just seven goals in his last six starts.

Head coach Michel Therrien has tinkered with two of his forward lines as of late at practice. Jacob De La Rose has centered a line with Lars Eller and Christian Thomas, while Manny Malhotra has been the pivot on a line with Brandon Prust and Michael Bournival.

Malhotra will return to the Canadiens’ lineup on Saturday night. He has been a healthy scratch for the last five games. Defenseman Mike Weaver will also be back in action. Like Malhotra, Weaver hasn’t played since February 1. Tom Gilbert and Jiri Sekac will be healthy scratches.

For their part, the Leafs will be without Dion Phaneuf due to injury. Jonathan Bernier will likely get the start in goal.

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