MONTREAL - One of pro sports' greatest rivalries is set to resume on Saturday night, with the Canadiens welcoming the Toronto Maple Leafs back to the Bell Centre for the first time this season.
The Habs are coming off a 3-1 loss in their home opener against Chicago on Tuesday and will be looking to snap a three-game losing skid against Auston Matthews and co.
If he sticks to his combinations from practice on Friday, head coach Claude Julien is expected to feature a top line of Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Drouin and Artturi Lehkonen, with Brendan Gallagher joining Paul Byron and Tomas Plekanec on the second line. Carey Price is expected to start in net. Alex Galchenyuk missed Friday's practice with flu-like symptoms but was on the ice at Saturday's morning skate. Plekanec missed the pregame morning skate with flu-like symptoms and will be a game-time decision.
The game will be extra-special for 19-year-old rookie Victor Mete, who grew up in the Toronto area. The Woodbridge, ON native was practicing on a power play back-end pairing alongside Shea Weber on Friday.
For their part, the Maple Leafs are coming off their first loss of the season, a 6-3 decision at the hands of the New Jersey Devils. Prior to the loss, the Leafs had come roaring out of the gate, scoring 19 goals in their first three games - wins against Winnipeg, the New York Rangers and Chicago.
Head coach Mike Babcock is expected to insert Frederik Andersen between the pipes on Saturday.
The game marks the Canadiens' first in a series of FANatics Saturdays, this one featuring an autograph session with Chris Nilan, discounts on concession food and non-alcoholic drinks and much more. Visit canadiens.com/saturday for more details.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on TV on CBC, TVA Sports and NHLN-US, along with TSN 690 and 98,5 fm on the radio.