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Canadiens-Maple Leafs Preview @NHLdotcom

The Montreal Canadiens have the fewest regulation defeats in the league and have been very good on the road.

They will look to continue their early road success Saturday in Toronto against a struggling Maple Leafs team they easily defeated in October.

The Canadiens (8-1-2) are completing a four-game stretch of road games. Their 4-0-2 road record matches Buffalo's for the best in the Eastern Conference.

Montreal, however, needed Sergei Kostitsyn's goal with 41 seconds left to avoid its first regulation road loss Friday in Columbus. The Canadiens fell 4-3 in a shootout.

"We turned the puck over a few times in the neutral zone, and they took advantage of it," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said.

Montreal started backup goalie Jaroslav Halak in Friday's game so Carey Price would be ready against Toronto.

Price, who gave up a season-high four goals in his last start against the New York Islanders on Nov. 1, has won four of his five starts against the Maple Leafs. He is 6-1-1 this season with a 2.17 goals-against average, the same career GAA he has versus Toronto.

Alex Tanguay also got his team-leading seventh goal Friday, and has scored in three of the last five games. He had a goal and three assists in a 6-1 victory over the Leafs on Oct. 11, and has a point in six of seven career meetings. Kostitsyn also scored two goals and had an assist in last month's game.

Saku Koivu, who set a season high with three assists in that contest and had a seven-game point streak earlier this season, has recorded one assist in his last four games, but has a point in four of his last five games in Toronto.

The Maple Leafs (5-5-4) have gone winless in their last three games and 2-3-1 in their last six, including Thursday's 5-2 defeat to the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins scored three goals in the first 25 minutes and kept Toronto off the scoreboard until Alexander Steen scored 2:13 into the third period.

"We've got to come out of the gate harder," Steen said. "We've done it too many times, and it's tough to battle back every game. We've done a good job of it, but it would be nice to start the game with a lead for once."

Poor defense and goaltending are reasons for the Leafs' stumble. Toronto has allowed five or more goals in four of the last five games, and opponents have scored 16 times in the past three contests.

Vesa Toskala is responsible for most of that. After starting the year with a 3-1-2 mark, Toskala has gone 2-2-1 with a 3.75 goals-against average since, increasing his GAA from 2.61 to 3.09 in that span.

In his last start against Montreal, Toskala gave up a season-high six goals in 40 minutes in that Oct. 11 loss and was pulled for backup Curtis Joseph.

Joseph hasn't done much better in limited play. The former three-time Vezina Trophy finalist has an 0-2-1 record and career highs for GAA (3.91) and save percentage (.862).

The Maple Leafs have scored four or more goals five times in the past eight games after reaching that mark just once in the first six contests.

The Canadiens have won five of their last seven over the Maple Leafs, and they have taken three of their last four in Toronto, scoring at least four goals in those victories.

EA SPORTS NHL09 Game Predictions
Montreal 2
Toronto 1 (SO)
Three Stars
G: 1 | A: 0

S: 34 | SV: 33

C - Tor
G: 1 | A: 0
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