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

Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Game 76: Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

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

The Montreal Canadiens’ season-long five-game homestand comes to an end tonight. The Habs have alternated wins and losses in the first four games, beating the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers, but struggling to slow down the hotter Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.

You can place the Toronto Maple Leafs at “warm” on the temperature scale. They recently had a three-game winning streak snapped by the Lightning in what may turn out to be an important game for Atlantic Division seeding. With that result and the Lightning’s win over Montreal on Thursday, the gap between Toronto and Tampa Bay is down to just two points.

The Canadiens can’t join the playoff chase with their division rivals, but they can have a say in how this particular race plays out. It’s the third and final game in a short season series with the Maple Leafs, and a win for the home side would really tighten things up in the battle for the third seed in the group.

Canadiens Statistics Maple Leafs
29-34-12 Record 43-23-9
44.9% (29th) Scoring-chances-for % 51.4% (13th)
2.73 (27th) Goals per game 3.61 (3rd)
3.37 (26th) Goals against per game 3.11 (17th)
17.2% (26th) PP% 24.4% 7h
76.8% (23rd) PK% 77.9% (21st)
0-1-1 Head-to-Head Record 2-0-0

Toronto has gone 7-5-1 since the trade deadline, opting to make a few depth moves ahead of that March 8 cutoff to improve their roster. They added Ilya Lyubushkin and Joel Edmundson on defence, and Connor Dewar to help the forward group. Those three players have combined for just four points over the past month, but Lyubushkin and Edmundson are +3 and +4, respectively, and that was the aim of new general manager Brad Treliving.

The deadline also coincided with Mitch Marner exiting the lineup for the past dozen games with an injury. In the absence of one of their big-four forwards, an offensive boost came from a player already on the roster. Former Hab Max Domi saw his role elevated, and he responded with 10 points, all coming at even strength. Even with Marner set to return to the lineup tonight, Domi will be staying on Auston Matthews’s wing as Sheldon Keefe tries to maintain that chemistry, and keep John Tavares productive on the second line.

Marner will be dropped back into action versus Joel Armia, who is coming off a two-goal performance versus the Lightning and has tallied five times in the past five games. Armia’s turnaround has earned him the team’s Masterton Trophy nod, battling through some confidence issues to become one of the team’s most consistent players this season.

These teams usually play high-scoring games, but that wasn’t the case in the previous meeting, a 3-2 win for Toronto. That was one of the first games of Domi’s current run, with a goal and an assist, He was eager to have a good game that night, and that will only be heightened in his new top-line role. The previous 70-point-scorer for the Canadiens will be going head-to-head with their newest, Nick Suzuki, in a power-on-power battle that could see plenty of fireworks.

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