Game Preview: To Catch a Hab

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.

Team
GR
Pts
ROW
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

Founded in 2008, Maple Leafs Hotstove (MLHS) has grown to be the most visited unofficial team-focused hockey website online (Quantcast). Independently owned and operated, MLHS provides thorough and wide ranging content, varying from news, opinion and analysis, to pre-game and long-form game reviews, a weekly feature piece, the "Leafs Notebook", along with a Web TV show the "Maple Leaf Hangout".
574 comments
skippysleafs
skippysleafs

see that death look by gleason on the way to the box

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

Don't care how they do it....doesn't even have to be pretty......Big two points in regulation...GO LEAFS GO!!!

ingy56
ingy56

Bryan Hayes ‏@HayesTSN  3m

You know you have a couple of gong shows when Glen Sather and James Dolan are running the most functional team in the State of New York.

Jay31
Jay31

Corey Pronman @coreypronman

Well I guess if LaFontaine didn't want to do that trade, and instead extend a 33 year old goalie on a bottom team, probably best end for BUF

Jay31
Jay31

Lavoie reporting that Lafontaine wanted to keep Miller, Murray wanted to trade him

Cameron19
Cameron19

So what did Murray do that pissed LaFontaine off?

Jordan29
Jordan29

I literally cant stop farting right now......Thats a good sign for the leafs

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

What's for dinner tonight, folks??  I've got leftovers from last nights chinese.....chicken & shrimp haka chow mein.

Jordan29
Jordan29

@Cameron19  pretty sure he was never comfortable there from the beginning 

ingy56
ingy56

@rustynail  I hear Pierre Gauthier is a good executive........bahahahahahaha

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan  Basically, whatever I could find in the freezer....without having to do much of anything....not feeling well and didn't shop this week......pizza, jalapeno poppers, wings.....the Boys will love it......me, not so much.....going with soup and toast

Jordan29
Jordan29

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan  I had Habanerios. Probably dont know what it is but its a sick burrito place kind of like subway that Im pretty much enjoying more then a bag of blow on a navy boat out at sea

mcloki
mcloki

I just think it's going to be a rough night tonight in Montreal. Where Grabo biting people when you need him.

rustynail
rustynail

@mcloki  I thought he was one of the most effective D last game

ingy56
ingy56

@dlb eh @ingy56  I think so too, yet LaFontaine has to sell tickets, Murray has to build a team. 

Jay31
Jay31

@Loric76 @ingy56 @dlb eh  They legit cant, Ive been seeing a lot of them bitching about getting 2015 first round picks, they dont seem to understand their team is in on the McDavid sweepstakes