Skip to main content
game preview

Preview: Maple Leafs at Canadiens

Auston Matthews among six Toronto rookies facing Carey Price, Montreal for first time

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (2-2-3) at CANADIENS (7-0-1)

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

 
Maple Leafs team scope

Center Auston Matthews is among 11 Toronto Maple Leafs who will get their regular-season initiation into the rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens. Matthews is one of six rookies, including Toronto's three leading scorers, who will be facing Montreal for the first time; the others are forwards Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Connor Brown, and Zach Hyman, and defenseman Nikita Zaitsev. "I know it's going to be pretty exciting for all us young guys," said Matthews, who leads the Maple Leafs with six goals and 10 points. "It's Hockey Night in Canada tonight. It's Saturday night in Montreal, it's obviously a big rivalry. It's definitely exciting. It's going to be a great atmosphere." Goalie Frederik Andersen, defenseman Connor Carrick, and forwards Ben Smith, Seth Griffith, and Matt Martin also will be playing their first regular-season game for Toronto against the Canadiens. "It's pretty crazy here, I think everyone knows that," Marner said. "It's a very fun crowd to play in front of, and we've just got to ready to come out early and weather the storm and make sure that first time we're coming out fast and playing hard to play against, and I think that's the thing that we're really going to work on."

 
Canadiens team scope

Defenseman Shea Weber was asked after the Montreal Canadiens' morning skate at Bell Centre if he could have imagined himself and the team having had a better start. "We've got a loss, so not as good as it could," Weber said. Point taken, but Weber and the Canadiens are firing on all cylinders. Montreal, still the only NHL team without a regulation loss, has won six straight games and is the first team in League history to win seven of its first eight games in three consecutive seasons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Weber, who ended a four-game points streak Thursday, leads the Canadiens with six assists and nine points, 16 blocked shots, and an average ice time of 25:53 per game. He has scored two of his three goals on the power play. Alexander Radulov will remain on the top line with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher against Toronto after moving from right wing to left wing to join them for the third period against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. "He plays with a lot of passion, a lot of energy, so does [Gallagher] too," said Galchenyuk, who scored one of three third-period goals in a 3-1 win against the Lightning. "We all have that fire in ourselves and it should be exciting."

 
Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- Connor Brown

Matt Martin -- Ben Smith -- Seth Griffith

Morgan Rielly -- Connor Carrick

Martin Marincin -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner -- Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Peter Holland, Frank Corrado

Injured: Josh Leivo (lower body), Matt Hunwick (lower body)

 
Canadiens projected lineup

Alexander Radulov -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Brendan Gallagher

Max Pacioretty -- David Desharnais -- Andrew Shaw

Artturi Lehkonen -- Tomas Plekanec -- Paul Byron

Phillip Danault -- Torrey Mitchell -- Brian Flynn

Alexei Emelin -- Shea Weber

Andrei Markov -- Jeff Petry

Nathan Beaulieu -- Greg Pateryn

Carey Price

Al Montoya

Scratched: Mikhail Sergachev

Injured: Zach Redmond (broken foot)

 
Status report

The Canadiens will dress the same lineup for a fifth straight game. ... Sergachev, who played three of Montreal's first four games, has been a healthy scratch since a 5-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Oct. 20.

 
Who's hot

Marner had his first three-point game in the NHL with three assists Thursday in a 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers. He has a goal and five assists in six games. ... Price has won each of his four starts since missing the first three games of the season with the flu. He has a 1.51 goals-against-average and a .947 save percentage.

View More