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Maple Leafs at Canadiens preview

Matthews game-time decision with Toronto seeking sixth straight win; Montreal looks to get back on track

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (13-7-0) at CANADIENS (8-10-2)

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


The Game

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will be a game-time decision to return against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday, when the Maple Leafs try for their sixth consecutive victory.

Matthews was one of a few players who took part in Toronto's optional morning skate. The Maple Leafs have won five straight, the past four with Matthews out of the lineup because of a lower-body injury.

Montreal will dress the same lineup it used in a 5-4 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. The Canadiens are 1-2-1 in their past four games after winning five of their previous six.


Players to watch

Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen will try to win his fifth straight start; he has allowed seven goals in his past four and is coming off a 42-save, 1-0 overtime win against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

Canadiens forward Paul Byron has scored a goal in consecutive games after going six games without a point.

They said it

"I guarantee you they're going to be going here tonight. It's us and it's Saturday night and they need the win. They've also … been playing well. So we expect, just like last time, there to be no space and it to be a grind." -- Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock

"I definitely didn't want to miss tonight's game. It's fun to be out there on that stage against Toronto, and this kind of a night takes you back to being a kid." -- Canadiens defenseman Jordie Benn, one of three Montreal players who missed practice Friday because of the flu


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Patrick Marleau -- Nazem Kadri -- Leo Komarov

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Matt Martin -- Dominic Moore -- Connor Brown

Morgan Rielly -- Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner -- Nikita Zaitsev

Andreas Borgman -- Connor Carrick

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Roman Polak, Josh Leivo, Nikita Soshnikov

Injured: None


Canadiens projected lineup

Alex Galchenyuk -- Jonathan Drouin -- Paul Byron

Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Andrew Shaw

Charles Hudon -- Tomas Plekanec -- Brendan Gallagher

Nicolas Deslauriers -- Jacob de la Rose -- Byron Froese

Jordie Benn -- Shea Weber

Karl Alzner -- Jeff Petry

Victor Mete -- Joe Morrow

Charlie Lindgren

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Brandon Davidson, Torrey Mitchell

Injured: Carey Price (lower body), Al Montoya (concussion), Artturi Lehkonen (lower body), Nikita Scherbak (knee), David Schlemko (hand), Ales Hemsky (concussion-like symptoms)


Status report

Benn, Drouin and Pacioretty, the three Canadiens who missed practice because of the flu Friday, each participated in an optional morning skate on Saturday.


Stat pack

Kadri (three goals, three assists) and Rielly (one goal, five assists) each has a five-game point streak. ... Marner has four points (one goal, three assists) in his past three games. ... Pacioretty has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his past 10 games.

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