The Habs will hit the ice for their third game in as many days on Saturday, this time travelling to the Air Canada Centre where they will take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. This is the second meeting of the pre-season for these two teams, who have seen very different results thus far. The Canadiens are still searching for their first win, while the Leafs are coming off just their first loss after winning three straight to open the pre-season. Saturday night's match-up will be one about rebounding for both clubs.
A number of players continue to fight for a spot in the Habs lineup, with notables such as Tomas Fleischmann making statements early on. This match marks the half-way point of the pre-season for the Canadiens, who will surely be making big decisions regarding their roster very soon. It's crunch time for those trying to prove themselves, and tonight's contest should provide ample opportunity to do so.
How to Watch
Start time: 7:30 PM ET
In the Canadiens region (French): RDS
In Canada (English): Sportsnet
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter, NHL Center Ice
Tale of the Tape
|49.7||Score-Adjusted Fenwick %||45.3|
|1.19||5v5 Goal Ratio||0.79|
Know Your Enemy
There has been a lot of excitement surrounding the prospect pool amassed in Toronto, and rightfully so. Youngsters such as William Nylander and Mitch Marner represent the Maple Leafs future, and as a result have been the focal point of the club's pre-season games. While Leafs Nation will have liked what they've seen thus far from many of their prospects - Nylander especially - it has been some of their veterans who have made waves.
Nazem Kadri is a player who will be out to prove he is a legitimate first line talent this season, and he seems to have started things off right. With 4 points (including 2 goals) already, the former 7th overall pick has been the Leafs' most productive skater. New additions Michael Grabner and Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau have also impressed, finding the score-sheet for 3 assists and 2 goals respectively.
With regards to the Leafs younger crop, Nylander has perhaps been the standout. Dmytro Timashov also made the most of his opportunity at camp, as the fifth round pick notched 2 assists. Mitch Marner and Kasperi Kapanen have failed to record any points, though the Leafs have been very happy with what they've seen from both. It's also worth noting that the Leafs have cut Frederik Gauthier, Brendan Leipsic, Josh Leivo, and the aforementioned Timashov among others since their last meeting with the Habs.
As time winds down in the pre-season around the league, several training camp invitees on professional tryout contracts will also be under the microscope in Toronto. Brad Boyes and Curtis Glencross are still among those hoping to find a permanent address in Toronto this season.
Last Time Out
The Canadiens opened their pre-season schedule against the Leafs this past Tuesday night, getting their first look at a number of fringe players and prospects hoping to make an impact. While the game would go to overtime, it would not stay there for long as Jake Gardiner scored the winner for the Leafs just 16 seconds into the extra frame. Having dropped the decision, the Habs took both positives and negatives away from the contest.
Among the positives, Michael McCarron showed evidence that he has taken the next step in his progression, managing to find the back of the net after finding a loose puck on his stick. Carey Price was his usual self, stopping every shot he faced in his period-and-a-half of service. Alexei Emelin, meanwhile, set the tempo with his physical play, though he did cross the line at least once as he went low on Brad Boyes. The spotlight was on Devonte Smith-Pelly towards the end of the game, and not for the right reasons as he took a penalty in the closing moments of the third. The ensuing Leafs power play would end the game early in the overtime period.