Tune in at 7:30 PM ET as the Canadiens take on the Maple Leafs. Gino Bottero will be liveblogging for your enjoyment.
Welcome everyone! I'll be live blogging tonight's Original Six rivalry game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.
Toronto won each of the first two meetings between these teams this season, but each win sparked a Montreal winning streak. The Habs won four in a row after losing 2-1 to the Leafs in their opener, then won five in a row after getting blown out 6-0 by the Leafs on February 9th, and haven't lost in regulation in the eight games since then. They allowed only 10 goals in those eight games.
The Canadiens made a trade on Tuesday, sending forward Erik Cole to Dallas in exchange for forward Michael Ryder and a third-round draft pick. Ryder was drafted by Montreal in the eighth round of the 1998 entry draft and played his first four NHL seasons with the franchise. Cole scored 35 goals last season for the Canadiens, but recorded just six points in 19 games this year.
Michael Ryder will be in the Montreal lineup tonight after catching a 6:00 AM ET flight from Columbus to Toronto on Wednesday morning. He will wear his usual number 73 after rookie Brendan Gallagher gave up his number. Gallagher will wear number 11. Ryder is currently riding a six-game point streak, racking up two goals and seven assists in his final six games with Dallas.
The Canadiens currently sit atop the Eastern Conference, but a win tonight for the Maple Leafs would leave the Buds just a single point back of the Habs.
The Maple Leafs have won three consecutive home games since a 1-4-0 start at the Air Canada Centre, outscoring their opponents, 11-3.
James Reimer is back for the Leafs tonight and will serve as Ben Scrivens's backup. He's been out since February 12th with a strained left MCL.
As I noted earlier, he'll stick with number 73.
Phil Kessel recorded a total of five points in the first two meetings between these teams. He has two goals and three assists in his last five games overall, but hasn't scored at the Air Canada Centre through eight home games this season.
Toronto recorded a season-high 51 penalty minutes in the last meeting between these teams.
Carey Price is 0-3-0 with a 3.07 GAA in his last three starts against the Maple Leafs.
With a win tonight the Leafs will just be one point back of the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Leafs have killed off 5.3 percent more of their shorthanded situations than they did a year ago.
Montreal has scored only once in the first two meetings between these teams this season.
This will be the 712th regular season meeting between these teams.