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Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs: Game preview, start time, Tale of the Tape, and how to watch

Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

Game 64: Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Start time: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In Canada: CBC, Sportsnet (English), TVA Sports (French)
Streaming: CBC Gem, ESPN+, Sportsnet+

The trade deadline has passed, and not a whole lot has changed for the Montreal Canadiens since they last played on Thursday. The significant move was Jake Allen’s four-year tenure with the team coming to a close after he dropped to the number-three role in the goalie tandem, and had been rumoured in various trades throughout the season. His veteran presence will be missed, especially by the two goalies that remain, but the on-ice results won’t see much impact from the move.

David Savard, who went on record multiple times with his desire to stay in Montreal, does indeed get his wish, at least to see out the rest of this season. Joel Armia was in a similar situation with one year remaining on his contract, but the Habs will continue to reap the benefits of his resurgence.

The Toronto Maple Leafs also did very little on deadline day, which is a bit more concerning for that fanbase since the team is trying to capitalize on its core during its prime years. They made a move to acquire defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin several days ago, and then Brad Treliving snuck a move in just before the deadline arrived, adding forward Connor Dewar maybe just to say that he’d done something. There’s little worry about the Maple Leafs not making the post-season as they have an eight-point edge on the Detroit Red Wings, but it isn’t the regular-season play that has been the concern, rather the disappointing post-season appearances.

Canadiens Statistics Maple Leafs
24-29-10 Record 36-19-8
44.8% (28th) Scoring-chances-for % 51.4% (14th)
2.76 (27th) Goals per game 3.54 (3rd)
3.49 (28th) Goals against per game 3.14 (20th)
18.6% (23rd) PP% 27.5% (2nd)
74.9% (28th) PK% 77.5% (27th)
0-0-1 Head-to-Head Record 1-0-0

Toronto ranks 20th in the NHL surrendering 3.14 goals per game. They have been better since January 1, ranking eighth at 2.79, however the past two months have seen them play some of the NHL’s lower-ranked teams, contesting both games of the season series with the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, and Arizona Coyotes. Toronto is 11-2-1 versus non-playoff teams, and 8-7-0 versus clubs in playoff positions. They’ve given up at least four goals eight times versus those clubs in post-season spots, winning just once when doing so. Their strings of victories over the lottery clubs may have given Treliving a false sense of security that the defensive issues were resolved. Looking at the penalty kill over the same span, the Maple Leafs rank 21st at 77.1%, worse than Montreal’s mark of 78.0%, so it seems as though there was still plenty of room for improvement to the roster.

Them not doing so is only good news for a Habs team that had its run of scoring at least three goals broken in five games by Frederik Andersen and his goalposts on Thursday. Nick Suzuki hit two posts in that contest and was visibly frustrated with his luck. It was in Toronto that something changed in his mindset and he came back from the All-Star Game looking to take command of games rather than just taking the opportunities he was given, and the Leafs may be experiencing some of that tonight.

We could be in for a high-scoring game, as is often the case between the teams, including the season-opening 6-5 shootout win for Toronto. Montreal won’t want to show off its moderately superior penalty kill because it’s up against a team the excels on the power-play, but one that also ranks near the top of the league in five-on-five scoring. You’ll hear enough about the players who are leading the way on offence for Toronto during tonight’s broadcast, so suffice it to say that it’s up to the defence corps that Montreal’s general manager left intact to prevent the home side from becoming the latest non playoff team to fall to the Leafs.

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