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Sports Canadiens at Maple Leafs: Five things you should know

14:57  07 april  2021
14:57  07 april  2021 Source:   montrealgazette.com

Stu Cowan: Math works in Canadiens' favour down the stretch

  Stu Cowan: Math works in Canadiens' favour down the stretch Are you ready for some hockey — lots of hockey? Heading into Thursday night’s game against the Senators in Ottawa, the Canadiens had 24 games left in this condensed 56-game NHL season. Those 24 games will be played over 41 days. Starting next week, the Canadiens will play four games a week for five straight weeks before wrapping up the regular season with back-to-back games against the Edmonton Oilers on May 10 and 11 at the Bell Centre. There’s Heading into Thursday night’s game against the Senators in Ottawa, the Canadiens had 24 games left in this condensed 56-game NHL season. Those 24 games will be played over 41 days.

a person skiing on the snow: Backup goaltender Jake Allen will be in Montreal's net against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. © Provided by The Gazette Backup goaltender Jake Allen will be in Montreal's net against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.

Here are five things you should know about the Canadiens-Maple Leafs game Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena (7:30 p.m., SN, SN1, RDS, TSN Radio 690, 98.5 FM).

The matchup: This is the fifth of 10 meetings between the teams and, while each game has been decided by no more than two goals, the Canadiens have only one victory to show for their efforts. Toronto (26-10-3) has spent most of the season in first place in the all-Canadian North Division and returns home following a successful four-game road trip, having swept both Winnipeg and Calgary twice. The Maple Leafs are undefeated in their last eight games (7-0-1). The Canadiens (17-9-9) are firmly established in the division’s fourth, and final, playoff spot, eight points ahead of both Vancouver and the Flames. In other words, this could potentially be a preview of a first-round playoff encounter. Montreal’s coming off a come-from-behind 3-2 overtime victory Monday , at home, against Edmonton. Eric Staal , in his first game with the Canadiens, scored the winning goal. Toronto and Montreal meet again next Monday at the Bell Centre.

Jets at Canadiens: Five things you should know

  Jets at Canadiens: Five things you should know Here are five things you should know about the Jets-Canadiens game Thursday night at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN Radio-690, 98.5 FM). The matchup: This is the third of four games this week for the Canadiens, who are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs Wednesday night in Toronto. It’s also the first of two contests against Winnipeg within 72 hours; the teams are meeting in Montreal again Saturday night. The Jets have been idle since Monday, when they defeated Ottawa 4-3 at home, following two home-ice losses against the Leafs — one in a shootout. This is the seventh of nine meetings between the Canadiens and Jets. The remaining three games are all in Montreal.

Injuries mounting: The Canadiens will be without pesky winger Brendan Gallagher indefinitely. Gallagher, who has 14 goals in 35 games, suffered a fractured right thumb against the Oilers after being struck by a shot in the first period from defenceman Alexander Romanov. While this kind of injury would normally sideline a player four to six weeks, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Gallagher return earlier. And on Tuesday, it was announced goaltender Carey Price (lower-body injury) wouldn’t accompany the team to Toronto. Jake Allen gets the start against the Leafs.

Good measuring stick: Toronto has a 12-point lead on the Canadiens and, the way the Leafs have been playing, it’s unlikely they’ll be overtaken by Montreal, especially without Gallagher in the lineup. On the other hand, knowing this could be a playoff matchup, it’s about time the Canadiens send their adversaries a message. “It’s a huge test against the No. 1 team in the division,” Allen said on Tuesday. “Obviously our biggest rival. They just have a really good team. I think it’s a good chance to set our bar. Where we want to be is where they are right now.”

NHL suspends Avs' Jacob MacDonald two games for hit on Wild's Ryan Hartman

  NHL suspends Avs' Jacob MacDonald two games for hit on Wild's Ryan Hartman The incident in question took place during Wednesday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild, with MacDonald targeting a defenseless Ryan Hartman in the first period. Player Safety described the hit as follows: © Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports Jacob MacDonald is facing a two-game suspension for a hit during Wednesday's game. "MacDonald delivered a high, forceful hit to [Hartman] that picked his head, making it the main point of contact on a hit where such contact was avoidable… MacDonald, arriving on the backcheck, delivers a high hit that cuts across the front of Hartman and picks his head.

The other guys: While Frederik Andersen, who has a history of inconsistent play in the Leafs net, has been sidelined by a lower-body injury, Toronto hasn’t missed a beat, thanks to Jack Campbell. He tied a franchise record Monday night with his ninth consecutive win, turning aside 26 shots. Campbell shares the record with Félix Potvin (1993-94), former Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante (70-71) and John Ross Roach (24-25).

This and that: Finnish centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi will get the first crack at replacing Gallagher on the Canadiens’ most potent line of late, teaming with Phillip Danault and Tomas Tatar. Interim head coach Dominique Ducharme hinted at the move following Monday’s game. “That’s something we’re going to look at,” Ducharme said at the time. “We’re going to look at every option. I think (Kotkaniemi) can do it. Maybe it’ll just be sporadic. He could go back to centre. Go back and forth.” … The Leafs’ Auston Matthews has an NHL-leading 27 goals in 36 games. Over the course of an 82-game schedule, that would translate to 62 goals. … Before Matthews scored a power-play goal on Monday, the Leafs were in an 0-for-29 funk with the man advantage over the last three weeks.

Cole Caufield wins 2021 Hobey Baker Memorial Award

  Cole Caufield wins 2021 Hobey Baker Memorial Award He is the first player in Big Ten hockey history to win consecutive scoring titles and is an offensive machine from anywhere in the attacking zone. He has broken records at the U.S. National Team Development Program, tied some of Alex Ovechkin’s U18 international records and has now added the Hobey Baker to his growing resume.If you want to bet against Caufield because of his size, you’re probably going to lose your money.Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools. Emailed daily.

hzurkowsky@postmedia.com

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It really is a blast following the ups and downs of the Montreal Canadiens and always has been. There’s no better entertainment around. But fun as it is, it can be a frustrating and downright perplexing world to live in. For example, the National Hockey League trade deadline passed and our Habs were mostly inactive in terms of significant deals, but there are two competing storylines among fans and some in the media, and neither makes any sense. On one side, there are those who believe that the Canadiens’ season is already toast, that there’s no possibility they’ll do any damage in the playoffs.

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This is interesting!