Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs: Game Preview, TV Schedule, and Start Time

Can the Habs finish a busy week undefeated?

The Montreal Canadiens have had a big week. Whether you look at it terms of the quality or the quantity of the work presented to them, the three games in four nights the Habs have played since Sunday make for easily the most difficult part of this very early stretch of the NHL schedule.

The Canadiens hold their place at the top of the standings in no small part due to goaltending, as  Al Montoya and Carey Price have won the goaltending battle in just about every game they’ve played in. When your seriously skilled forward group only has to score twice a game to win, that’s a considerable advantage.

How to Watch

Start Time: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PDT

National: CBC, CITY, TVAS (French)

Stream: NHL GameCentre Live, Sportsnet Now

The balanced attack on display through eight games has almost been overshadowed by the superlative netminding, but quietly, all of the regular forwards except Brian Flynn and Tomas Plekanec have registered a goal already this season.

Of course, Flynn’s job is not to score goals, and with 21 goals in 230 career games, he probably knows that. In fact, Flynn has his place in the lineup only at the expense of Daniel Carr, a player who in 25 games last year equaled Flynn’s career high goal total for a single season with six.

Plekanec is more of an aberration. The veteran centre has played 11 full NHL seasons, and with the exception of the two seasons in which the Habs crashed and burned (2011-12 and 2015-16, respectively), the reliable playmaker has scored twenty goals (or at an equivalent pace during lockout seasons) in each of them. Playing almost exclusively with talented linemates in Arturri Lehkonen and Alexander Radulov, it’s only a matter of time before Plekanec gets on the scoresheet. Facing the team against which he’s scored more goals than any other opponent save for the Ottawa Senators, tonight just might be the night that the Habs’ number two centre finally gets rolling.

At the other end of the Canadiens goals column is a tie between bonafide scorer Brendan Gallagher and fourth line stalwart Torrey Mitchell. While that isn’t likely to last, it understates the variety of contributions that have propelled the Habs to success in October.

With offseason acquisition Frederik Andersen having a rough go so far, the Canadiens should be good for a few goals tonight. Andersen has allowed at least four goals in four of his six starts as a Maple Leaf, including a seven goal night against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. The Maple Leafs have been the victims of a couple of high profile third period collapses so far this season, but needless to say, it would behoove the Habs to score early and let their probably tired group play with the lead instead of being forced to conjure up another batch of third period heroics.

Consider that Andersen may have played his best period in blue and white when he helped his team hold the lead during a third period barrage from the Panthers on Thursday night. With not much to go on, the player that started the season regarded as part of the solution in Toronto will be eager to leverage that bit of momentum into another quality start this evening.

Tonight, on Hockey Night in Canada, the Habs’ matchup with the Maple Leafs will make four games in six nights. If the Tricolore can manage to get on the board before the Leafs’ explosive youngsters do, it should mark four wins in six nights as well.

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