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Canadiens-Maple Leafs Preview

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After splitting its first two games of the season against a provincial rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs host one of the biggest rivalries in NHL history against the Montreal Canadiens Saturday.

The Maple Leafs (1-1-0) surprised the Senators with a 6-0 win Thursday to spoil Ottawa's home opener, a day after the Senators did the same at the Air Canada Centre, defeating Toronto 4-1.

"Like we said after the game last night - and I wasn't trying to sell you something - I thought we played a pretty solid game, a pretty smart game, we just didn't do anything easily with the puck the entire night, and tonight we did," Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said Thursday.

"A lot of things just came easy to us, (Kyle) Wellwood's passes and those kind of things that weren't there last night were there."

Wellwood, whose four assists Thursday tied his career high for points in a game, is expected to start his third game as left wing on Toronto's top line with Mats Sundin and Alexei Ponikarovsky. The line has combined for two goals and six assists in two games.

"It's always great to get a point and to be involved in the play that your team scores," Wellwood said. "You just consider yourself lucky when you get that many."

The 23-year-old forward also had four points - one goal and three assists - in a 9-6 win over the New York Islanders last Dec. 19.

He had two goals and three assists in eight games against the Canadiens last season.

Goaltender Andrew Raycroft also got his first shutout - fourth of his career - with the Leafs on Thursday, making 34 saves.

He is 2-3-1 with a 1.93 GAA average and .929 save percentage in six career starts against Montreal.

The Leafs signed Raycroft to a three-year contract in the offseason hoping he would solve their goaltending issues from last year, when Toronto allowed 3.21 goals per game to rank 11th in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto went 4-3-1 against Montreal last season, but holds a 13-4-1 advantage at home against its Original Six rival since 1999.

The Canadiens (0-0-1) lost 5-4 via the shootout to Buffalo on Friday, squandering a two-goal lead with eight minutes remaining.

"It's always frustrating, but we've got to learn from it," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. "There's breakdowns, it happens, and when you play against a team like that they make you pay."

Saku Koivu scored twice, Chris Higgins had a goal and two assists and the power play went 2-for-5 in the season opener, but the Canadiens missed both shootout attempts and goaltender Cristobal Huet allowed two shootout scores to the Sabres.

Huet, who stopped 33 of 37 shots Friday, hopes for a better result against Toronto. He is 2-1 with a 2.68 GAA and a .917 save percentage in three starts versus the Maple Leafs - all last season.

The Canadiens and Leafs have met 674 times - the third-most meetings between two clubs in NHL history. Montreal has faced the Boston Bruins 677 times, while Detroit and Chicago have held 681 meetings in their all-time series.

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