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CWHL Weekend Preview: Les Canadiennes looking to get back on track in final regular season homestand

Montreal hosts Toronto for their annual Pink the Rink and Fan Appreciation games in Brossard

Shanna Martin / Eyes on the Prize

If the Toronto Furies are hoping to secure the CWHL’s No. 3 spot ahead of the post-season, they’re running out of time to be able to make that a reality.

Suffering a minor setback when the Brampton Thunder split the series with Les Canadiennes last weekend, Toronto now trails Brampton by a single point. In the Furies’ final weekend of regular season action, they’ll need to rely on more than pure skill and game points, as Brampton’s results against Boston in two weeks time will influence the final standings.

In a lot of ways, Les Canadiennes are finding themselves in a very similar situation. With Calgary a healthy four points ahead of Montreal with both teams having four games remaining, Les Canadiennes will not only need to collect two points for every remaining game — they, too, will be relying on the Boston Blades to pull one out of the hat, as they face off against the Inferno this weekend.

Hey, crazier things have happened.

CWHL Standings

CALGARY 20 17 3 0 34 81 38
MONTREAL 20 14 4 2 30 82 41
BRAMPTON 22 10 10 2 22 65 59
TORONTO 22 9 10 3 21 51 54
BOSTON 20 2 17 1 5 26 113

If the Inferno sweep the series versus Boston, Montreal will lose out on the top spot for only the third time in the CWHL’s 10 year history.

In a league where two goals per game will likely get you nowhere, Toronto has struggled to put up big numbers. With 51 goals on the season, captain Natalie Spooner’s 13 make up a quarter of the team’s goals for, with rookie forward Michela Cava trailing behind with six. On their 26-woman roster, only 11 skaters have found the back of the net — nine of which have scored 5 or fewer.

If this team hopes to find their footing, they are going to have to stagger the offence and get a little more out of goaltenders Christina Kessler and Sonja van der Bliek, who haven’t been bad, but haven’t been great on a regular basis.

Toronto will hope to keep the momentum of back to back wins over Boston going to have success over the league’s current second-best team this weekend, but will have their work cut out for them. Coming off a disappointing showing where Montreal fell in a 4-2 loss to Brampton, Les Canadiennes aren’t going to sit still for long if their big guns have anything to say about it.

Leading the league in goals, 12 of Ann-Sophie Bettez’s 16 goals have come in the last 10 games, where she has collected 23 points in that time. She’ll prove to be a hurdle for the Toronto Furies as she will look to continue her dominance by extending her point streak to 11 games.

On the verge of breaking CWHL scoring history, Caroline Ouellette is sitting tied in first place with 130 career goals, and can make history for the second time this season if she can get one past Toronto.

Les Canadiennes will host the Furies in Brossard for their seventh annual Pink the Rink game, sporting pink jerseys for World Cancer Day in warm up and the first period. Those same jerseys, among other items, will be up for auction during the game, where a portion of the proceeds will go to the Wellness Initiative of the Cedars Breast Clinic at the McGill University Health Centre.

Puck drop is at 3:45 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday respectively in Brossard at the Complexe Sportif Bell. Sportsnet will be broadcasting Saturday’s game nationwide right after the Canadiens face the Capitals.

Tickets are available for Saturday’s game, as well as Sunday’s Fan Appreciation Day game here.