MONTREAL - With the NHL celebrating 100 years since its founding - an event that took place just a few blocks away from the Bell Centre, at the Windsor Hotel - the League's oldest rivalry is set to resume in celebration, as the Canadiens welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Bell Centre on Saturday night.
The Canadiens will be looking to close out their six-game homestand on a high on Saturday, after they fell 5-4 to the Arizona Coyotes in a high-scoring affair two nights before. The Habs are 2-3 on the stretch, although they have won four of their last seven games dating back to a 5-4 overtime win in Winnipeg.
Max Pacioretty (2G, 1A) and Tomas Plekanec (3A) lead all Canadiens in scoring on the homestand, which started with a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on November 7. Brendan Gallagher is the team's leader in goals on the season with 8, and is tied at the top of the points list with Shea Weber (4G, 9A) and Jonathan Drouin (3G, 10A) with 13 points apiece.
Despite a flu bug going around the room, Pacioretty, Drouin and Jordie Benn all confirmed they would be in the lineup to face Toronto. Head coach Claude Julien announced after Saturday's morning skate that there would be no changes to his lineup for the game.
With Carey Price sidelined with a lower-body injury and Al Montoya out indefinitely with a concussion, 23-year-old Charlie Lindgren has taken up the mantle in net, starting the last six games for Montreal. Lindgren has recorded a 3-2-1 record, 1.99 goals-against average and .938 save percentage since joining the big club.
Antti Niemi was picked up off waivers from the Florida Panthers to back him up.
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As for the Leafs, they have won their last five games straight, although three of those games have come in extra time (one in shootout, two in overtime).
Frederik Andersen has been in nets for four of the Leafs' last five wins, posting a 1.68 goals-against average and .951 save percentage in that span. The 28-year-old made 42 saves to shut out the New Jersey Devils 1-0 on Thursday night.
Four Toronto skaters have produced at or above a point-per-game pace during the winning streak - Nazem Kadri (3G, 3A), Morgan Rielly (1G, 5A), James van Riemsdyk (4G, 1A) and Mitch Marner (1G, 4A).
Auston Matthews, recovering from an upper-body injury, hasn't played since the Leafs' 4-3 shootout win over Vegas on November 6. He was once again on the ice with his teammates at practice on Friday and said a decision on whether he would play against the Habs would be made before the game.
The contest on Saturday is the second meeting between the two teams this season. On October 14, Toronto and Montreal traded the lead three times before Matthews put it away in overtime for the Leafs. Last year, the Canadiens won all four games they played against Toronto, outscoring the Leafs 12-7.
Saturday's game marks the another edition of FANatic Saturdays at the Bell Centre. The SiriusXM guest DJ of the night is DJ Blaze, while Mathieu Darche will be available for a photo op from 5:15 p.m.-6:15 p.m. Click here for a full list of special initiatives taking place surrounding the game.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on TV on CBC, Sportsnet, City and TVA Sports, and on the radio on TSN 690 and 98,5 fm.