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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 1st (All times Eastern)

Toronto Maple Leafs (32-22-7) at Montreal Canadiens (33-21-7), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Jonathan Bernier and the Toronto Maple Leafs will try to rebound from a shaky effort last time out when they visit a streaking rival in the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

The Maple Leafs were 5-1-1 in their previous seven games going into a matchup on Thursday night with the New York Islanders. Toronto, though, yielded three game-tying goals in a 5-4 overtime setback.

The Leafs saw Islanders forward Michael Grabner score twice shorthanded during the same Toronto power play, gave up a game-tying goal with 2:40 left in regulation and then yielded the winner 1:55 into overtime following a failed clear attempt.

"Gifts," said Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle. "I got no other way to describe the goals that we gave up. We were fortunate to get a point."

Phil Kessel, Paul Ranger, Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul scored for the Maple Leafs, who lost for just the fourth time in their last 15 games (11-2-2). James van Riemsdyk added three assists.

Bernier made 30 saves and is expected to start again tonight. He is 1-3-0 with a 3.29 goals against average in his career versus the Canadiens.

Continued production from Kessel could help Toronto make up some ground in the Atlantic Division, where it is tied for third with the Tampa Bay Lightning and just two points back of the second-place Canadiens.

Kessel scored five goals for the U.S. during the 2014 Winter Olympics and is tied for second in the NHL with 32 goals. He has tallied 12 goals and 29 points in his past 16 games.

The Canadiens have stayed in front of the Leafs by going 4-0-1 in their last five games and 7-1-2 in the past nine. They have three points in two games coming out of the break, dropping an overtime decision to Detroit on Wednesday before a 6-5 shootout win over Pittsburgh the following night.

Carey Price, who backstopped Team Canada to a recent gold medal, missed both games due to a lower-body injury he aggravated during the Winter Games. He was expected to miss at least two games but will sit out a third straight tonight.

Peter Budaj has made back-to-back starts in his place and is 3-1-0 with a 1.55 GAA lifetime versus the Leafs.

Budaj made 27 saves on Thursday before going perfect in the shootout and Montreal's David Desharnais had the lone tally of the tiebreaker.

Daniel Briere had two goals and an assist for the Canadiens, while Brendan Gallagher, Max Pacioretty and Alexei Emelin also lit the lamp.

"It's a fun way to win a game," said Briere. "I'm sure the coaches won't like that, all the goals scored against, but it's good for us and I know it sounds cliche, but what matters is we get a win."

The Habs next play on Monday, when they open a four-game road trip out west, and have lost two of three to the Maple Leafs this season. Toronto has won six of its last eight in Montreal.

03/01 10:26:26 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUR 5
GWI 2
 
Final
NEP 30
CAR 7
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
GWI
 
Final
CHC 4
BAL 1
Final
NYY 4
CWS 3
 
Final
CLE 1
HOU 5
Final
WAS 3
SFG 10
Final
PHI 5
STL 4
Final
TOR 0
TAM 8
Final
CIN 1
ATL 3
Final
BOS 3
SEA 5
Final
TEX 3
KAN 6
 
Final
MIN 20
DET 6
 
Final
MIL 3
PIT 8
Final
COL 5
MIA 13
 
Final
ARI 5
SDP 1
Final
OAK 5
ANA 3
 
Final
LOS 6
NYM 2
 
1:05pm Today
NYY
CWS
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
TAM
 
1:10pm Today
MIN
DET
 
1:35pm Today
BOS
SEA
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
BAL
 
4:05pm Today
WAS
SFG
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
HOU
 
7:05pm Tonight
PHI
STL
 
7:10pm Tonight
CIN
ATL
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIL
PIT
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
DET
 
8:10pm Tonight
COL
MIA
 
8:10pm Tonight
ARI
SDP
 
8:25pm Tonight
TEX
KAN
 
9:05pm Tonight
OAK
ANA
 
9:10pm Tonight
LOS
NYM
 
Final
NEP 30
CAR 7
 
Final
DET 13
JAC 12
 
Final
NYJ 24
NYG 35
 
Final
GBP 31
OAK 21
 
Final
SEA 34
CHI 6
 
4:30pm Today
BUF
TAM
7:00pm Tonight
MIA
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
ATL
TEN
7:30pm Tonight
BAL
WAS
8:00pm Tonight
KAN
MIN
8:00pm Tonight
IND
NOS
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
STL
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
HOU
Final
DUR 5
GWI 2
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
GWI