HabsWorld.net -- 

The Montreal Canadiens will face off with their favorite foe tonight, the
Toronto Maple Leafs. The game represents much uncertainty with both teams
currently fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference
and with the trade deadline looming tomorrow at 3pm EST. Former assistant
captain Craig Rivet was traded yesterday, and many are wondering if this will be
the final game in a Habs jersey for yet another member of the Montreal
Canadiens. David Aebischer gets the start while Alex Kovalev and Steve Begin are
set to return from their injuries.

1st Period

Toronto 1-0: Bates Battaglia scores his
11th of the year with David Aebischer stretching from post-to-post after
receiving a pretty pass from John Polh. Defenseman Hal Gill also picks up an assist on the goal.

Montreal 1-1:
Tomas Plekanec ties the game only a minute and a half later when Alex Kovalev
fights off Kaberle and gets the puck across the crease for an easy tap in under Andrew Raycroft’s right pad.

Montreal 2-1: With Andrew Wozniewski off for hooking, Michael Ryder fired off
his signature snapshot from the right circle to give Montreal their first lead
of the game. Saku Koivu and Andrei Markov pick up assists on Ryder’s 21st goal
of the season, which tied with with Sheldon Souray for first for the team lead
in goals.

Montreal 3-1: Radek Bonk wins a
faceoff against Mats Sundin in Toronto’s zone and the puck finds its way to Mike
Johnson who one-timed it to put Montreal up 3-1. It is Johnson’s 10th goal of
the season. 

2nd Period

Toronto 2-3: Bryan McCabe makes things
interesting with a powerful slapshot from the blueline to bring Toronto within a
goal a minute and a half into the second period. The goal came on the powerplay
with Steve Begin off for interference. Sundin and Kaberle pick up assists on
McCabe’s 11th.

Montreal 4-2: Koivu scores a huge goal in
the second off a rebound to give Montreal a 4-2 lead. His 18th of the season was
the second powerplay goal of the game on the Habs second opportunity with the
man-advantage. Ryder took the the initial shot on that lead to the rebound, so
both he and Higgins pick up assists.

Montreal 5-2: Leaf’s goalie Raycroft
actually jumps out of the way of a Souray slapshot that gave the Habs a
comfortable 5-2 lead. The goal is Souray’s 22nd of the season, and comes on the
powerplay. The Habs are now 3-3 with the man-advantage.

3rd Period

Toronto 3-5: Jeremy Williams registered
his first NHL goal off a Bates Battaglia pass. Sundin picked up his second
assist of the game on the goal.

Toronto 4-5: Aebischer looked awful on
this goal, an Alexander Steen shot that slipped by him glove side. McCabe picks up the sole assist. It was Steen’s 13th of the season.

The Montreal Canadiens allowed the Toronto Maple Leafs to get back into the
game with two quick third period goals, but managed to hold on for the
regulation win. When it was all said and done, it was Montreal’s powerplay
dominance that helped them to a win by scoring on 3 of their 4 opportunities.
The Canadiens also had scoring by committee with five different Habs getting
goals by Andrew Raycroft. More importantly, with the win, Montreal moved into 7th place in the Eastern Conference.

HW 3-Stars:

1. Saku Koivu (1G, 1A, 2 Hits)

2. Sheldon Souray (GWG, 4 BS)

3. Bryan McCabe (1G, 1A, 27:31 Mins)