Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
How to watch
Start time: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In Canada: CBC, Sportsnet, CityTV (English) TVA Sports (French)
In the United States: NHL Network
After having their three-game winning streak snapped on Thursday night, the Montreal Canadiens will look to rebound and get back in the win column with a date against one of their oldest rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs, tonight at Scotiabank Arena.
Tale of the Tape
|44.6% (26th)||Scoring-chances-for %||54.6% (5th)|
|2.65 (28th)||Goals per game||3.38 (8th)|
|3.64 (27th)||Goals against per game||2.65 (6th)|
|17.0% (28th)||PP%||25.0% (6th)|
|73.9% (29th)||PK%||80.6% (14th)|
The Canadiens (23-28-4) had been perfect since returning from the All-Star break, notching back-to-back wins last weekend over the New York Islanders Saturday with a 4-3 overtime win before dismantling the Edmonton Oilers 6-2 on Sunday.
A large portion of the offensive output lately has been provided by the Canadiens’ defence core. West Island native Mike Matheson, in his first season with the Habs, had his point shot tipped for the tying goal Saturday before eventually scoring the winner versus the Islanders. The next afternoon, it was Jordan Harris’s turn to light the lamp not once, but twice for his first career two-goal game.
The defence was also able to shut down the Oilers’ powerhouse tandem of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, limiting the two to only one goal combined. McDavid, the NHL’s leading point-scorer now with 101 points on the year, was held pointless for only the fifth time all season long.
For their next opponent, the defensive star was the one between the pipes, as veteran goaltender Jake Allen made 22 saves for his first shutout of 2022-23 in a 4-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday. It was Allen’s first blanking of any opponent since November 2, 2021 when he shut out the Detroit Red Wings. The Canadiens did get more goals from their blue line yet again, as Justin Barron and David Savard each hit the scoresheet in the win.
Thursday, however, they were tasked with one of their toughest tests of the season as they faced off against the red-hot Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Canes had won eight of their last nine heading into the contest, and took advantage of a strong third period to escape with a big 6-2 win.
With the score deadlocked at two-apiece heading into the third, Carolina scored three times in 2:55 to jump to a big lead. Forward Seth Jarvis led the offence by scoring three for his first career NHL hat trick, and the 2018 third overall pick of the Habs back in 2018, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, also had a goal in the win.
One player that has been the talk of Habs fans, players, and management alike has been Saguenay, Quebec native Rafaël Harvey-Pinard. The 24-year-old was called up from the Laval Rocket after it was announced that sophomore phenom Cole Caufield would be out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. He was called up back on January 17, and despite going pointless in his first two games, has since gone on a tear, recording seven goals and nine points in his nine games since, including a pair of two-goal games.
What’s even more impressive is that RHP was only taken in the seventh round back in 2019, and is currently tied for the league lead in goals since January 21. He is definitely making a statement to join the everyday Habs roster come next season.
The Maple Leafs (33-14-8) got a huge boost to their lineup in their last contest as Auston Matthews returned after missing the previous five games with a knee injury. He scored his 26th goal of the season, the eventual game-winner, in their 5-2 win over the Blackhawks.
Last night they added some support for Matthews and John Tavares, completing a three-team trade to land centre Ryan O’Reilly from the St. Louis Blues. O’Reilly is expected to be with the team tonight, so a tough forward group could be even tougher for the Habs.
Their goaltending, however, has been the one big question mark. Matt Murray, in his first season with the team, is battling yet another injury, and Ilya Samsonov, who is also in his first season with the club, was absent from practice Friday morning with an illness, so he’ll likely be a game-time decision. The options are Samsonov, third-string goaltender Erik Kallgren, who has gone 3-2-4 in nine contests this season, or Joseph Woll, the Marlies’ goaltender, who was also between the pipes for the first time last week, stopping 36 shots in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Montreal enters the contest with a winning record against Toronto. They edged the Maple Leafs 4-3 in the season-opener on a Josh Anderson winner in the dying seconds. A few weeks ago, on January 21, Montreal refused to quit despite going down 2-0 early on, and won on a Rem Pitlick overtime snipe as they prevailed 3-2.
Montreal may have the edge in the season series, but Toronto has the better record, and now a much superior group of players. Either Montreal will run that streak to three or the Leafs’ have finally amassed enough forward talent to pull off a win. We’ll find out together ... at the rink.