MONTREAL - The Canadiens face a trio of division rivals this week, leading up to their 100th birthday celebration this Friday.
First up on the docket, the Maple Leafs visit the Bell Centre, before the Canadiens fly out to Buffalo to take on the Sabres on Thursday night. The Habs return home on Friday to face off against the Bruins in their Centennial game, 100 years to the day since J. Ambrose O’Brien founded the club, on December 4, 1909. Canadiens vs Maple Leafs – Tuesday, December 1 @ 7:30 p.m.
The Maple Leafs take on the Canadiens for the third time this season – and the second time in Montreal – on Tuesday night. If history is any indication, this one might come down to the wire. The Habs took the first game of the series 4-3 in overtime in Toronto on October 1, and they edged out the Leafs in a 5-4 Halloween night shootout in the re-match.
Despite the Canadiens’ crowded clinic these days, the good news for Habs fans is that the most productive Leaf-killers for Montreal this year aren’t among the walking wounded. Tomas Plekanec
leads the pack with four assists, followed by Glen Metropolit’s two goals and one helper and Josh Gorges
’ goal and two assists. The Canadiens will also be taking on a tired Leafs squad, who will be playing their second game in two nights, coming off a Monday night tilt against the Sabres. Canadiens @ Sabres – Thursday December 3 @ 7:30 p.m.
This week is Groundhog Day for the Canadiens, who will take on the Buffalo Sabres two days after their game against the leafs – exactly as they did on October 1 and 3 this season. In that early October match-up, the Habs topped the Sabres in overtime, thanks to a stellar 34-save performance by Carey Price
The Canadiens will have their hands full with Tim Connolly, who is coming off a recent four-point night against the Flyers and currently leads the Sabres with 21 points. As for Ryan Miller, the Buffalo netminder will have to keep a close eye on Habs leading scorers Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri, who pace the team with 25 points and 12 goals, respectively. Canadiens vs Bruins – Friday, December 4 @ 8 :00 p.m.
Happy Birthday to us, happy birthday to us! The Canadiens will toast their 100th Anniversary against the Bruins at the Bell Centre this Friday. Claude Julien’s crew has no intention of arriving with a gift for the Habs, as the division-leading Bruins currently sit third in the Eastern Conference. Whichever of these rivals comes out on top, it promises to be a memorable night.
The evening will also include a long-awaited homecoming for Steve Begin, who signed with the Bruins in the summer. Michael Ryder will also be back in the house and looking to build on his scant production of 10 points on the season. In their only other meeting this season, the Canadiens came away with a 2-1 shootout win in Boston, with Cammalleri notching the clinching goal.Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.See alsoMy Playlist: Michael Cammalleri 100 years, decade by decade - 1970-1979 100 Years of trivia