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Maple Leafs at Canadiens preview

Toronto rests defensemen Hainsey, Dermott, Zaitsev before playoffs; Poehling debuts for Montreal

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (46-28-7) at CANADIENS (43-30-8)



The Game

The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to avoid a third straight loss to end the regular season when they play the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday.

Toronto, which is 4-7-2 in the past 11 games, will finish in third place in the Atlantic Division and play the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference First Round. 

Montreal was eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoffs contention when the Columbus Blue Jackets won 3-2 in the shootout at the New York Rangers on Friday.

Forward Ryan Poehling will make his NHL debut for the Canadiens, who are 6-2-1 in their past nine games.


Players to watch

Maple Leafs forward John Tavares has nine points (seven goals, two assists) in the past eight games, and 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) in the past 17 games.

Canadiens forward Max Domi has nine points (four goals, five assists) in the past nine games.


They said it

"We've got some people that are a little banged who are not going to play. And the guys that are going to play, obviously it's your last opportunity to get your game in order the best you possibly can. … We just want to get our game in order the best we can, and we want everyone to come out healthy." -- Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock 

"You want to win whenever you're playing, we're all competitive guys. Obviously, we would have liked this game to mean a little more than it is, but it doesn't, which is tough." -- Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Patrick Marleau -- Auston Matthews -- Kasperi Kapanen

Zach Hyman -- John Tavares -- Mitchell Marner

Andreas Johnsson -- William Nylander -- Connor Brown

Tyler Ennis -- Frederik Gauthier -- Trevor Moore

Jake Gardiner -- Morgan Rielly

Calle Rosen -- Justin Holl

Martin Marincin -- Igor Ozhiganov 

Michael Hutchinson

Frederik Andersen

Scratched: Nic Petan, Travis Dermott, Ron Hainsey, Nikita Zaitsev

Injured: Nazem Kadri (maintenance), Jake Muzzin (illness)


Canadiens projected lineup

Tomas Tatar -- Phillip Danault -- Brendan Gallagher

Artturi Lehkonen -- Max Domi -- Andrew Shaw

Jonathan Drouin -- Jesperi Kotkaniemi -- Joel Armia

Nicolas Deslauriers -- Ryan Poehling -- Jordan Weal 

Victor Mete -- Shea Weber

Brett Kulak -- Jeff Petry

Jordie Benn -- Christian Folin

Charlie Lindgren

Carey Price

Scratched: Charles Hudon, Nate Thompson, Dale Weise, Mike Reilly, Antti Niemi

Injured: Paul Byron (wrist)


Status report

Hainsey, Dermott and Zaitsev will be rested, and Muzzin and Kadri will not play, but will be ready for Game 1 in Boston. … Lindgren will make his first start of the season.


Stat pack

Tavares has 88 points and leads the Maple Leafs with 47 goals, each NHL career highs. Toronto's most recent 50-goal scorer was Dave Andreychuk, who had 53 in 1993-94. … Marner has eight points (two goals, six assists) in eight games. He has 26 goals and leads Toronto with 67 assists and 93 points, each NHL career highs. … Danault has five points (one goal, four assists) during a five-game point streak.

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