Maple Leafs-Canadiens Preview
Both the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs will be looking to recoup a lost point from their previous game and get some separation from each other Saturday night when they meet at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
The teams are both 14-9-3 and trail Boston by five points for the lead in the Atlantic Division. The Canadiens are the hotter of the two teams but did have their four-game winning streak snapped Friday in a 3-2 shootout loss at Washington. They squandered a 2-1 lead in the third period before Peter Budaj allowed three goals in the four rounds after overtime.
"We deserved to come out of here with two points," coach Michel Therrien said. "Things like this happen. We have to regroup and get ready for the game against Toronto."
Brian Gionta assisted on both goals while linemate Tomas Plekanec had a goal and an assist for Montreal, which still has taken points in eight of its last nine games (6-1-2).
While Budaj is 4-1-1 with a 1.63 GAA this season, all six of his starts have come on the road. Carey Price, who has allowed five goals during a personal three-game winning streak, allowed four in a 4-3 loss to Toronto on Oct. 1 and is 11-12-1 with a 2.69 GAA lifetime against the Canadian rival.
Price hasn't surrendered more than two goals in any of his last nine home starts, posting a .952 save percentage in those games.
For the second straight game, the Maple Leafs settled for a point as they lost 3-2 in overtime at Buffalo on Friday night.
While the third period and overtime were not as disastrous as in their 6-5 shootout loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday - when they were outshot a combined 19-0 in the third period and extra five minutes - the inability to put away a team proved costly as James Reimer allowed the game-winner 38 seconds into overtime that also came six seconds after Toronto successfully killed off a penalty.
"It seems to be a theme obviously, the last two games have gotten away from us," Jake Gardiner said. "I don't know what that is but something we definitely have to address."
Phil Kessel scored his team-best 14th goal in the loss and has a goal and five assists in his last three games at Montreal.
Toronto has lost six straight (0-3-3) on the road, its longest skid outside Air Canada Centre since going 0-5-2 from Jan. 19-Feb. 12, 2010. The Leafs, though, have won three straight at Montreal and rode second-period goals by Dion Phaneuf and Tyler Bozak to that 4-3 win over Budaj.
Lars Eller scored twice in that loss for the Canadiens, and the center has only two goals in his last 21 games after netting five in his first five.