Maple Leafs-Canadiens Preview
GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (26-12-8-3) at Montreal Canadiens (24-17-6-2).
TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.
With injuries a huge concern, the Maple Leafs wouldn't mind if Alexei
Ponikarovsky can turn in another strong offensive performance as they visit the
Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
Ponikarovsky scored two goals Wednesday to lead the Maple Leafs to a 3-2
victory at Washington. The left wing has four goals and 12 points overall this
season, with 10 points coming on the road.
"I like that he's starting to shoot the puck," Toronto coach Pat Quinn
said. "He never did shoot the puck before. I've been encouraging him to quit
trying to be so pretty and get some at the net."
Toronto is without regular contributors Darcy Tucker, Owen Nolan, Alexander
Mogilny, Wade Belak, Robert Reichel and Ken Klee due to injuries.
Tucker, Toronto's third-leading goal-scorer with 14 this season, had left
eye surgery Wednesday and will be out indefinitely. The right wing was hit in
the face by New York Islanders forward Jason Blake's stick in the second period
of Toronto's 2-0 victory Tuesday night.
Nolan has missed nine straight games since being high-sticked in the left
eye on Jan. 3. He expects to return next Tuesday.
Mats Sundin, who along with teammate Gary Roberts was recently named to the
All-Star team, has 54 points in 62 career games against Montreal.
The Maple Leafs have won two in a row.
The Canadiens come in off a 2-0 loss at New Jersey on Friday. The defeat
snapped the Canadiens' five-game (4-0-1) unbeaten streak and prevented Montreal
from moving ahead of the defending Stanley Cup champion Devils in the
Montreal has lost just twice in its last 11 games (7-2-2).
Jose Theodore stopped 22 shots Friday, and has allowed two goals or fewer in
20 of his last 23 starts.