Game Preview: To Catch a Hab

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There’s 21 games left in Canadiens’ and Maple Leafs‘ respective seasons and the original six rivals are neck and neck in the Atlantic Division standings.

With Ottawa beginning to fall off (trail the Leafs by eight points), this is a tightly-contested division between 2nd and 5th in the Atlantic. The Habs (73) hold second place over the Lightning and Leafs by two points, with the Red Wings five points back and surging of late (6-2-2 in L10). The Leafs could pull even for 2nd in the Atlantic with a win over Montreal tonight, which is a pretty good place to be with 20 games to go.

TeamGRPtsROW
Boston247936
Montreal217329
Tampa Bay237127
Toronto217123
Detroit226824
Ottawa226323

The concerning signs are also present, between the team’s subpar road record (11-12-6) and failure to show any signs of shoring up the defensive end of the rink as the season has gone along. The Leafs are 10-2-2 in their last fourteen thanks to an offensive resurgence to the tune of 55 goals in 14 games (a 3.8 goals-per-game clip), but after conceding five to the Islanders have also conceded 44 over that span for a 3.1 goals-against-per-game average. That’s no better from a defensive standpoint than the 30-plus game stretch in which they only won five games in regulation or overtime.

Matchup Notes

With Dave Bolland remaining on LTIR and still not ready to return, Peter Holland has been recalled this morning. He’ll likely line up between Mason Raymond and Nikolai Kulemin on line three tonight while Kulemin returns to the wing. The top six will remain in tact, while Carlyle will have options on the fourth line. He could either play McClement, Smith and Bodie on line 4, or sit one of Smith or Bodie and dress seven defencemen. Paul Ranger scored last game, was a plus-1 despite five goals against and played 1:50 on the penalty kill, so the 7D scenario seems more likely.

Leafs fans have good memories of Reimer bringing it against Montreal,  winning three of four against the Habs since the Gionta incident. But with the stakes high in these final 20 games, Carlyle is hesitant to risk Reimer coming in cold and will likely be rolling with his number one save for back to back sets. Bernier is 1-3 lifetime against the Habs, but did pick up the victory in the teams’ last meeting, a 5-3 back in mid January.

Last Meeting:

Carey Price, still riding his shutout streak from the Olympics, will not play tonight after picking up a lower-body injury. Peter Budaj will start for the Canadiens. He stopped 16 of 17 in his last meeting with the Leafs in the final regular season game of the 2012-13 season (the loss that led to the Leafs meeting the Bruins in the first round).

The Habs are a bottom 10 offence in both goals and shots for, with their leading points scorers (tied between Pacioretty and Subban) at only 39 points on the season. They have, however, scored 10 goals over 3 games against the Leafs. The Leafs have scored 11 versus Montreal and lead the season series 2-1-0. The rivals will meet once more on March 22 in Toronto.

Pump Up Video

  • mcloki

    FIRST

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    No doubt our two favourite French-Canadian referees have already been assigned.

  • Burtonboy

    mcloki  Ban Hammer NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

  • mcloki

    Burtonboy mcloki  I don’t know what go into me, but i saw an empty comment section and the “inner douchebag” took over.

  • Loric76

    mcloki Burtonboy  eat some beans and go take a hab to clear that out

  • Burtonboy

    mcloki Burtonboy  I did that first when I came on the site and got an earful………. rightlfully so lol

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    ingy56  Vape session for everybody before this one?  haha.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    TheCanucksnaphook ingy56  May as well, they are both probably rehearsing their “no goal” waves right now.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    ingy56 Haha.  then the excited point into the net when the scabs score?

  • Waiting4LSC

    You never know what you can catch from toilet seats. I’d like to see Kulie in the Center spot again. I’m thinking Ranger should start as well. Need as much strength as possible. Please Leafs, pound out Gallagher, Gionta at a minimum.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    TheCanucksnaphook ingy56  Wait, you’ve seen this before?? :)

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    Waiting4LSC  I believe we have our hands full tonite. Nothing would make me happier than being wrong and seeing a 4-2 Leafs win.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Waiting4LSC  I think Kulie’s on the wing tonight with Holland up.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    ingy56 Just a few times but maybe it will be different this evening?

  • Burtonboy

    This Ranger Flyers game is gonna get really rough

  • Burtonboy

    WAS up on Boston 1-0

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Burtonboy  That’s the one I’m watching. They’ve run Carcillo pretty hard a few times now.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    ingy56 Burtonboy  Fuckers are going to make me buy Center Ice !!

  • BBirde

    Ah…watching that video and watching Kadri wreck Plakeshits again was just awesome.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    TheCanucksnaphook ingy56  Somehow I doubt it. Call it a hunch.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Don’t talk about Price being out and the Leafs having an easy time of it.  Went thru that false hope against the Tavares – less Isles.

  • BBirde

    MaxwellHowe  Everyone was giddy that Tavares and Nielson were out. That turned out pretty well for us.

  • MaxwellHowe

    BBirde MaxwellHowe when the Leafs play second stringers they make sure not to make the opposition feel bad about themselves

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Want this win bad tonight, guys. Pull into a tie for 2nd in the division with a win over these bastards. Get er done.

  • mike_84

    anyone want to take a stab at what a PHX-TOR deal involving Gards would be?

  • BBirde

    MaxwellHowe BBirde  We are generous gods.

  • Cameron19

    mike_84  A three-way, obviously.

  • mike_84

    Alec Brownscombe  Its gonna happen

  • mike_84

    Cameron19 mike_84  gotta love 3ways

  • Alec Brownscombe

    mike_84  Why Phoenix?

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    BBirde  Great montage, Bower stopping the backhander rebound with his bare face…quite awesome.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    Cameron19 mike_84  You dont do those.

  • MaxwellHowe

    mike_84 Seems like their deep at D, aren’t they?

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    Found Boston stream but not the Flyers one….fack.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Alec Brownscombe mike_84  *cough EK cough*

  • mike_84

    Alec Brownscombe mike_84  i’m bored and wanna play around with an EK rumour

  • Alec Brownscombe

    ingy56 Alec Brownscombe mike_84  efff that noise

  • Xxxxxnew

    @sunhornby: Monday will be Randy Carlyle’s second calendar anniversary taking over Leafs from Ron Wilson before a game @ Mtl. Record since: 64-48-15.

  • reenergized

    5-2 leafs!!! 

    Bodie with two goals, Rielly with one, Kessel and Lups

  • mike_84

    Alec Brownscombe ingy56 mike_84  Hanzal would make a good 3rd line C for us

  • Cameron19

    MaxwellHowe mike_84  I can’t even invent a trade that makes sense involving Gardiner to PHX. Possibly something surrounding Gardiner for Yandle in the summer, if PHX is looking to shave their payroll in a significant way.

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    reenergized  I like Rielly scoring one but he is currently on the couch with his head on my feet.  So…

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    Xxxxxnew  JUNK.

  • reenergized

    TheCanucksnaphook reenergized  get him on a plane … ASAP

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    reenergized He has his stuff packed to head to the Carolinas this week….could the real one be heading south too??  #tradedeadline

  • TheCanucksnaphook

    mike_84 Alec Brownscombe  I can tell you where to take it….but I shall digress.

  • reenergized

    TheCanucksnaphook reenergized  I know I’m missing something … but still too sleepy to figure out what :)

  • Waiting4LSC

    One word for the Leafs for tonight’s game….. PHOCUS

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    First 50 goal scorer in Toronto pro hockey:https://twitter.com/ClassicHockeyTV https://twitter.com/ClassicHockeyTV/status/439836253190885376
    Photo: Tom “Shotgun” Simpson, Toronto Toros https://twitter.com/search?q=%23classichockey&src=hash http://t.co/SZwQv0ySZT

  • lieffan

    lmfao Top Habs point scorer has 39 points. Kessel and JvR hit that number when? 20 games ago?