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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
The Habs will look to get back in the win column while exacting some revenge on division rival Toronto for beating them on opening night when the two teams square off Saturday night at the Bell Centre. The Maple Leafs have been terrific on the road so far this season having won five of six while Montreal has done well at home, winning five of seven.
The Canadiens confirmed after the morning skate that Ryan White will return to his still-warm spot in the press box after taking a costly and unnecessary double minor in the 3rd period against Buffalo although that should come as no surprise. No lineup changes are expected in terms of skaters; Brandon Prust was back with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher despite the fact that Lars Eller was in that spot for large sections of Thursday's shootout loss. Carey Price will get the nod between the pipes.
Although Toronto was hoping to have Mike Brown (who squared off in a fight with Prust early in the opener) back for this one, it appears he is not fully recovered from his shoulder injury. As a result, no changes are expected up front for the Leafs. On defence, former Hab Mike Komisarek is once again expected to be a healthy scratch as rookie Korbinian Holzer appears to have supplanted him on the depth chart. The German-born blueliner is expected to be promoted to the top pairing for this game. James Reimer, who didn't play against Montreal earlier, will start tonight.
|Toronto (6-5-0)||Montreal (6-3-1)|
|van Riemsdyk -
Bozak - Kessel
MacArthur - Grabovski - Kulemin
Komarov - Kadri - Frattin
Orr - McClement - McLaren
Plekanec - Gionta
Pacioretty - Desharnais - Cole
Prust - Galchenyuk - Gallagher
Moen - Eller - Armstrong
1) Early Positives - After a demoralizing loss in Buffalo, the Leafs will be looking to jump on the Habs while they're down. Whether it's a goal, some big hits, strong special teams play, etc, making some good plays early on should boost any lost confidence.
2) Contain Kessel - Toronto's sniper finally scored his first goal and he has a tendency to score in bunches. Whichever line is assigned to play against their top unit (I imagine that will be Plekanec's trio) will need to be particularly sharp.
3) Wake up the Desharnais line - Last year, the Pacioretty-Desharnais-Cole line was the offence on a lot of nights but that hasn't been the case this year. Cole has been quiet most nights, Desharnais has struggled after scoring last weekend, and Pacioretty remains goalless on the season through six games. Production from that line is needed badly.
Puck drop is at 7:00 PM EST and can be seen on CBC, RDS, and NHL Network in the USA.