Tonight the Canadiens will attempt to rebound from a terrible loss last night in Buffalo. The Canadiens led virtually all game until Maxim Afinogenov scored the tying goal with just 14.9 seconds remaining in the third period. Afinogenov went on to score the shootout-winning goal and send the Habs to Toronto with their tails between their legs.
Alex Kovalev, Sergei Samsonov and Tomas Plekanec were a combined –7 and much of that can be contributed to the lack on intensity and effort or Kovalev. On the other hand the Canadiens top line of Ryder Higgins and Koivu were absolutely dominate scoring all four Canadiens goals putting up 8 points and +5 rating combined.
The Leafs on the other hand are riding high coming into the game posting a very impressive 6-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators who just a year ago won seven of eight meeting between the two teams. Kyle Wellwood had four assists and looked spectacular on Mats Sundin’s wing. Andrew Raycroft recorded the 1st shutout of the 2006-2007 regular season.
Tonight’s game will mark the first of first of 12 back-to-back games the Canadiens have this season. It will also be the 675th tie these two teams have locked horns in battle. The Habs won the last two games of the season last year in Montreal virtually knocking the Leafs out of the playoff picture and you can bet your bottom dollar the returning Leafs players will remember that game and be seeking revenge!
A few players did not skate this morning for the Canadiens, most likely resting because of last nights encounter. Those players were Alex Kovalev, Saku Koivu, Steve Begin and Radek Bonk. In today’s warm up sake no line were broken up and an up tempo practice took place. Guillaume Latendresse and Alexander Perezhogin appear to have a special bond and enjoy each other’s company very much so on the ice. Mark Streit and Aaron Downey stayed on the ice for an extra 30 minutes with Kirk Muller working on passing and puck carrying drills.
It appears the Canadiens will start David Aebischer in place of a tired and possibly hurt Huet who mostly stretched and took very few shots in the game day skate.
- Saku Koivu was all over the score sheet in Buffalo scoring 2 goals adding an assist and four minutes in penalties.
- Craig Rivet played in his 600th game last night and Mathieu Dandenault will play his 700th this evening.