Maple Leafs at Canadiens Challenge

Game Preview

A Look-Back

It was a comeback win for the ages that will leave a bad taste in Habs fan’s mouths with the team losing Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher. Price was superb against the Oilers, particularly in the second period. A lower-body injury has kept Price in Montreal for evaluation. Gallagher is sidelined for the remainder of the season with a broken thumb.

Last game: MTL 3  EDM  2  F/OT

For a complete game recap: Oilers @ Canadiens: A Storybook Ending

Players to Watch

  • Eric Staal
    Staal couldn’t have asked for a better ending to his first game for the Habs. He was the overtime hero and was dominant in the face dot last game.
  • Jake Allen
    Allen has just one win since early February but he will be leaned on this week with Price out with a minor injury. It’s up to Allen to prove he’s the guy to hold the fort.
  • Jesperi Kotkaniemi
    While the Canadiens drafted Kotkaniemi to be a center, the injury to Gallagher will move Jesperi to the wing. It’s a huge ask by the coaching staff and it remains to be seen if Kotkaniemi will deliver.

Keys to Victory

  • Get a quick start
    A comeback win is great but that won’t be as easy against the Leafs who are an offensive juggernaut and the Habs can’t afford to play from behind against them and need a quick start.
  • Commit to defensive hockey
    The Habs defensive breakdowns resulted in two goals for the Oilers. Those lapses can’t continue if they want to go far into the postseason.
  • Win special teams
    As always the Habs and Leafs will have high emotions leading to a special teams battle. This game could easily be decided by who wins the special teams and the Habs need to make their opportunities count.  
Statistical Matchup
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON | April 7, 7:30 PM ET | TV: SN, RDS, NBCSN

2020-21 statistics

MAPLE LEAFS CANADIENS
55 (4th) Points (rank) 43 (14th)
26-10-3 Record 17-9-9
12-6-2 Home/Away 9-3-7
7-2-1 Last 10 5-3-2
3.31 GF/G 3.23
2.51 GA/G 2.66
23.9 (9th) PP% (rank) 21.4 (14th)
78.1 (20th) PK% (rank) 76.1 (25th)
50.37  CF% 56.08
Pre-game Quotes
Dominique Ducharme

  • “Games against the Maple Leafs are always intense. We know we’ll be seeing them a lot between now and the end of the regular season. We’ll likely see them in the playoffs at some point, too. It’s an important game. We want to make the most of this game to see where we’re at.”
Projected Forwards, Defense and Goaltenders (subject to change)
Forwards
Hyman – Matthews – Marner
Galchenyuk – Tavares – Nylander
Thornton – Kerfoot – Spezza
Mikheyev – Engvall – Simmonds
Perry – Suzuki – Anderson
Drouin – Staal – Toffoli
Tatar – Danault – Kotkaniemi
Byron – Evans – Lehkonen
Defensemen
Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – Holl
Dermott – Bogosian
Edmundson – Weber
Kulak – Petry
Romanov – Mete
Out of the lineup
Scratched: Vehvilainen, Brooks
Injured: Andersen
Scratched:
Injured: Chiarot (hand), Gallagher (hand), Price (lower-body), Armia (COVID protocol)
Goalies
Jack Campbell Jake Allen
Record: 9-0-0
GAA: – 1.53
Sv%: – .944
SO: 2
Alternate: Michael Hutchison
Record: 5-3-4
GAA: – 2.23
Sv%: – .922
SO: 0
Alternate: Cayden Primeau
 Game Expectations
The Leafs keep winning, making it hard for the Habs to make up ground on them. Many commentators have labeled the Leafs the clear winner of the division already. Tonight is a chance for the Habs to upset that confidence. A convincing win with two key players out will wake up the league knowing the Habs are a serious team this season.

Bottom Line

It will up to each player to step up their effort, be reliable with the puck and outwork their man.

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