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Canadiens at Maple Leafs preview

Gardiner expected to play for Toronto; Montreal seeks third straight win

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Correspondent

CANADIENS (33-21-7) at MAPLE LEAFS (36-20-4)

7 p.m. ET; CBC, TVAS, SN, CITY, NHL.TV

 

The Game

Jake Gardiner is expected to be in the lineup for the Toronto Maple Leafs when they face the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday.

Gardiner did not practice Friday. Coach Mike Babcock said the defenseman took a maintenance day but that he's planning on having Gardiner in the lineup.

Goalie Frederik Andersen will make his sixth straight start for the Maple Leafs, who have lost three in a row (0-2-1) and trail the Boston Bruins by four points for second in the Atlantic Division.

Carey Price, who is 9-3-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average, a .940 save percentage and one shutout in his past 13 starts, is expected to start in goal for the Canadiens, who have won back-to-back games after losing their prior four (0-3-1) and trail the Maple Leafs by three points for third in the Atlantic Division.

 

Players to watch

Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher has four goals in his past three games, including a hat trick Thursday in a 5-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers. He has 10 points (seven goals, three assists) in his past eight games.

Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past five games.

 

They said it

"I think it's huge, it's a four-point game. We can take two away from them and climb two in the standings. You see how tight the division is, so we want to keep climbing. We have to treat it like a playoff game for us for sure. Passion, character, it's all got to be there tonight." -- Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw

"They're a good team. We play them a lot and we know their guys pretty well. They are playing well and if you look at the standings, points are close so this is an important game. Last time we went in their building two weeks ago, it was an important game and both teams were ready to go. I'd expect the same tonight." -- Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly

 

Canadiens projected lineup

Jonathan Drouin -- Phillip Danault -- Brendan Gallagher

Tomas Tatar -- Max Domi -- Andrew Shaw

Paul Byron -- Jesperi Kotkaniemi -- Joel Armia

Artturi Lehkonen -- Nate Thompson -- Matthew Peca

Victor Mete -- Shea Weber

Mike Reilly -- Jeff Petry

Brett Kulak -- Jordie Benn

Carey Price

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Charles Hudon, Nicolas Deslauriers, Christian Folin

Injured: None

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

Andreas Johnsson -- Auston Matthews -- Kasperi Kapanen

Zach Hyman -- John Tavares -- Mitchell Marner

Patrick Marleau -- William Nylander -- Connor Brown

Par Lindholm -- Frederik Gauthier -- Tyler Ennis

Morgan Rielly -- Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Muzzin -- Travis Dermott

Frederik Andersen

Garret Sparks

Scratched: Igor Ozhiganov , Justin Holl

Injured: Nazem Kadri (concussion)

 

Status report

Kadri will miss his second straight game. He has not practiced since sustaining a concussion on Tuesday in a 3-2 overtime loss at the St. Louis Blues.

 

Stat pack

Toronto has won six in a row against Montreal. … Domi has four points (three goals, one assist) during a three-game point streak. … Tatar has four points (two goals, two assists) during a three-game point streak. … Tavares has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past nine games.

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