After a week off for the NHL All Star festivities the Habs and Leafs play round 5 of their 8 round season ling fight. The Habs two victories sandwich a pair of losses but the Leafs hold a six to five point advantage thus far in the season series and if not for some late game heroics for the Canadiens that differential would be much greater.
Special teams which has been great most of the year for the Canadiens has struggled against the Leafs. Despite ranked top five in both the power play and penalty kill the Leafs have dominated the special teams battle with the Canadiens this year. Toronto has scored 6 power play goals against the Habs while the Habs have managed just two goal’s. The Habs have also spent much more time in the box. The Leafs have enjoyed 25 power plays while the Habs have only gone a man up 16 times.
Maxim Lapierre was recalled by the Canadiens from the Hamilton Bulldogs and most likely will rejoin Alexander Perezhogin and Mark Streit on the Canadiens fourth line. Steve Begin has resumed skating but is not yet ready to return. Garth Murray, Aaron Downey and Janne Niinimaa should be the healthy scratches for the Habs. Toronto has two major injures up front Darcy Tucker remains out with a foot injury and Kyle Wellwood is out with a sports hernia.
Cristobal Huet is likely the Canadiens starter with Andrew Raycroft in goal for the Leafs. Huet has been nothing short of spectacular this season ranking 5th in save percentage and has his name chanted by the full houses at the Bell Centre on a regular basis. Raycroft on the other hand has recently been introduced the boo birds in Toronto. In defence of Raycroft the has been hung out to dry on a regular basis by the five guys in front of him.
1. The Canadiens have outscored the Leafs 5-2 in the second period but have been outscored 12-5 in the first two periods.
2. Toronto has out shot the Canadiens 170-133 this season, which reflects how dominate their cycle game has been against the Canadiens.
3. Saku Koivu entered this season with 4 goals against the Leafs in his career, he is just one goal away from equalizing that mark this season.
4. The Kaberle McCabe combo has dominated the Canadiens this season combining for 6 goals and 7 assists against the Habs.