CANADIENS (18-9-2) at MAPLE LEAFS (10-14-4)
TV: RDS (HD), CBC (HD), NHLN- US (HD)
Montreal 6-3-1; Toronto 3-6-1
This is the third of six games between the two rivals. The Maple Leafs won the first matchup, 3-2, on Oct. 7, and the Canadiens shut out the Leafs, 2-0, on Nov. 20. Jeff Halpern scored in both games.
The Canadiens had a big test Friday night, facing the No. 1 team in the Western Conference, and didn't come out the winning end. The 4-2 loss to the Red Wings snapped a three-game win streak and was their first regulation loss in six games. But Montreal doesn't plan on losing two nights in a row to Original Six teams.
"I think it’s mostly that we don't really like losing," Mike Cammalleri
said. "When we lose, our sense of urgency probably goes up a little bit and our level of play rises a bit."
The Canadiens outshot the Red Wings 19-3 in the third period and while Benoit Pouliot buried a slap shot midway through the period to make it 3-2, Montreal failed to solve Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard again.
opened the scoring in the first but the Habs soon found themselves in trouble, taking six minor penalties in the first two periods and allowing the Wings to grab a 3-1 lead.
finished the night with 32 saves and defenseman P.K. Subban
played solidly after being a healthy scratch for three games.
"We got ourselves into penalty trouble. When you take that many penalties, you don't have a chance to get into the game and you don't have a chance to get into the flow," captain Brian Gionta
said. "It was a big game and it was a big test for us and we needed to stay out of the box. When we played 5-on-5, I thought we controlled the play."
Other than the returns of Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf
from his leg injury and of Jean-Sebastien Giguère from a groin injury, things haven't been going too smoothly for Toronto. Thursday they trailed 3-0 for the third straight game before Mikhail Grabovski
found of the net in a 4-1 loss to the Flyers.
"It's not good enough," said Phil Kessel
, who hasn't scored in seven games. "We've been giving ourselves some holes here, and in the NHL you can't come back all the time from those leads."
Grabovski has scored in his last three games for the Maple Leafs. … Pouliot has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last five games, while Cammalleri has 5 points in his last five games.
Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov
is expected to be out for the season following knee surgery, while Scott Gomez
missed Friday's game with a lower-body injury. … For Toronto, right wing Mike Brown
is on the injured reserve with a broken finger, defenseman Mike Komisarek
is out with a finger injury and Jay Rosehill
(upper body) is doubtful for Saturday.
Montreal has lost its last two games at the Air Canada Centre, but is 3-2 this season in the second of back-to-back games.
"He did a lot of good things. It looked like he tired. We probably used him a wee bit too much but we end up down in a game like that fairly early, your bench gets a little bit shorter. The third period was a bit of a struggle because I don't think he had much gas. That's why I'm glad that I didn't play him last night because he wouldn't have been able to compete as hard tonight as he did. He still made a lot of nice plays." -- Toronto coach Ron Wilson to Mapleleafs.com on Phaneuf's first game back