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Game preview: MTL vs. TOR

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

CANADIENS (14-9-3) vs. MAPLE LEAFS (14-9-3)

On Friday, the Habs saw their four-game winning streak snapped by the Capitals 3-2, but salvaged a point by reaching the shootouts. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs were upset by the bottom-dwelling Buffalo Sabres 3-2 in overtime.

At the Verizon Center, the Habs got goals from Daniel Briere and Tomas Plekanec before Washington roared back to tie the game in the third period thanks to a tally by former Canadien Mikhail Grabovski. Eric Fehr had the first Washington goal and would go on to score in the shootout as well.

Lars Eller and Davis Desharnais lit the lamp in the shootout to extend the game before Grabovski, the fourth shooter for the Caps, gave his team the victory by beating Peter Budaj. The loss dropped the Habs to 1-3 in the post-overtime skills competition this season.

In Buffalo, the Leafs had a 2-1 lead with a minute and a half to go, but saw Luke Adam beat James Reimer to tie the game. Only 38 seconds into overtime, Christian Ehrhoff scored his second of the season to give the victory to the Sabres.

The Leafs’ offense is led by Phil Kessel, James Van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri. Elsewhere, Mason Raymond is putting together a resurgent offensive campaign while playing his usual brand of speedy two-way hockey. On defense, Dion Phaneuf will be counted on by coach Randy Carlyle to play against the best opposing lines game-in, game out. This frees up offensive blueliners Jake Gardiner, Cody Franson and Morgan Rielly, allowing them to jump into the rush and help out a Toronto team that gets outshot by opposing teams more often than not.

Jonathan Bernier will likely start for the visitors. He was peppered with 48 shots by the Penguins last time out, making 43 saves and taking the 6-5 shootout loss. Carey Price will be in net for the home team.

The Leafs will be without Dave Bolland, who is out long-term due to an ankle injury, and Joffrey Lupul, who has a sore groin.

The teams last faced off during opening night of the 2013-14 season, with the Leafs prevailing 4-3 at the Bell Centre on October 1st thanks to a shorthanded goal by Tyler Bozak.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST.

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