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Match Preview: Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs


TEAM UPDATES

The Leafs will turn to Jonathan Bernier in goal in Montreal after a show-stopping performance against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. Toronto comes into the game having won two in a row.

Tonight's game will mark the first Leafs/Canadiens matchup for newcomers Olli Jokinen and Zach Sill. Jokinen was traded to the Leafs a day after the last time these teams played one another and Sill joined the team this week.

"He's a great player and a veteran, he's been around the League a long time," said Leo Komarov of Jokinen. "It's nice for this team and the young guys to see what he does on and off the ice."

The Leafs are looking for their first win of the season in three tries against Montreal. The Canadiens have taken the first two games by way of a late regulation winner and shootout, respectively.

The Canadiens come into Saturday night having won their last game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. They sit on top of the Eastern Conference with 85 points and will welcome Sergei Gonchar back to the lineup who was injured in the last meeting between the two sides.

Carey Price will get the nod in goal for the Canadiens as he looks to continue his impressive season. Recently acquired forward Devante Smith-Pelly will make his home debut against his hometown team after playing his first game for Montreal on Thursday.

“I’m excited. It’s a special building to play in and for my first game to be against the Leafs makes it even more so,” said Smith-Pelly. “I’m happy to have my family coming in to town and I’m looking to have some fun tonight. I already played them twice this season [in Anaheim], but these are the games I watched growing up. It’s going to be special and I’m excited.”

RECENT RESULTS

The Leafs have won their last two games against the Jets and Flyers, respectively. Jonathan Bernier stopped 47 shots to steal the show and earn two points on Thursday against Philadelphia. The team is 3-6-1 in their last 10 games.

Toronto is 7-18-5 on the road this season.

The Canadiens are 7-1-2 in their last 10. They are coming off a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. PK Subban, Andrei Markov, Max Pacioretty potted goals and Jacob De La Rose scored a pair to pace them to a win.

The Canadiens are 21-7-4 at home this season.

LAST MEETING

The Canadiens beat the Maple Leafs in a shootout earlier this month. Daniel Winnik scored the lone Leafs goal in regulation and Brendan Gallagher matched that for Montreal on the PP. The Leafs were outscored 2-1 in the shootout as the Canadiens took the two points.

Montreal has won both games between the two this season.

ONE TO WATCH

Devante Smith-Pelly

Smith-Pelly was acquired in a trade for Jiri Sekac earlier this week and made his Canadiens debut on Thursday against Columbus. He is set to play his first game in front of the Bell Centre crowd on Saturday night.

In 54 games with Anaheim and one appearance with Montreal, Smith-Pelly's teams have had 47.5 per cent of the shot attempts with him on the ice. He can create a lot of havoc on the forecheck with his size, strength and willingness to throw his weight around.

Projected to be on a line with Brandon Prust and Jacob De La Rose, Smith-Pelly will likely be used in a physical, matchup role. Expect him to try and make a strong impression in front of the home crowd against his hometown team.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Canadiens...

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

21 van Riemsdyk - 42 Bozak - 81 Kessel

19 Lupul - 43 Kadri - 18 Panik

47 Komarov - 11 Jokinen - 20 Booth

22 Sill - 24 Holland - 67 Kozun

Defence

3 Phaneuf - 55 Holzer

44 Rielly - 46 Polak

51 Gardiner - 12 Robidas

Goaltenders

45 Bernier

34 Reimer

Montreal Canadiens

Forwards

67 Pacioretty - 51 Desharnais - 11 Gallagher

81 Eller - 14 Plekanec - 27 Galchenyuk

8 Prust - 25 De La Rose - 21 Smith-Pelly

49 Bournival - 20 Malhotra - 22 Weise

Defence

79 Markov - 76 Subban

28 Beaulieu - 77 Gilbert

55 Gonchar - 64 Pateryn

Goaltenders

31 Price

35 Tokarski

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