Canadiens host surging Leafs on TSN (Regional)

The Sports Network
2/24/2011 2:59:32 PM
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(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs will resume their bitter rivalry this evening, as the Habs welcome their Northeast Division foes to the Bell Centre.

Montreal is currently 12 points ahead of the Maple Leafs in the standings, but the clubs have split four meetings with each other this season. Both teams have won two games on home ice in the season series and the Canadiens hold a slight advantage with six wins in the last 11 meetings overall. Backup Alex Auld will get the start for the Canadiens in net while James Reimer will be in net for the Leafs.

Toronto does have four victories in its last seven trips to the Bell Centre despite losing both trips to Quebec so far this season.

Montreal is four points behind Boston for the division lead and is also the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference standings. Toronto, meanwhile, is nine points behind Carolina for the East's eighth and final postseason berth.

The Habs and Leafs are both coming off victories on Tuesday. Montreal ended a three-game slide by notching a win in Vancouver and Toronto earned a point for the fourth straight game (3-0-1) by defeating the visiting New York Islanders.

No. 1 netminder Carey Price was strong with 37 saves, as the Canadiens defeated the Canucks, 3-2, in regulation at Rogers Arena.

Andrei Kostitsyn, David Desharnais and Brian Gionta scored for the Canadiens, who bounced back after losing to Calgary in the Heritage Classic on Sunday. The Habs lost 4-0 to Calgary in the outdoor game at McMahon Stadium.

This evening's tilt marks the first of two straight on home ice for the Canadiens, who have lost three of four at the Bell Centre. Montreal is 19-7-6 as the host this season.

The Maple Leafs recorded a 2-1 win on Tuesday, as Phil Kessel scored the go- ahead goal late in the third period to lift Toronto past the Islanders.

Clarke MacArthur also scored, while James Reimer made 28 saves for the Maple Leafs.

"I think the key to the game for us was definitely James in goal," said Toronto head coach Ron Wilson. "He played great, made himself big, and the goal they scored, he had no chance on it."

Toronto has won two straight and three of four as the road team, but is just 12-16-1 as the guest this season.

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