Leafs And Canadiens Set For Hockey Night In Canada Match-up

For the second time this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be at the Bell Center.

Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Drouin and Jordie Benn participated in an optional training session on Saturday morning and will be able to face the Leafs in the evening.

Pacioretty, Drouin and Benn had to be off Friday after being hit by a virus that also affected Torrey Mitchell on Tuesday, a few hours before the duel against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Only six players skated in Brossard, including Mitchell, defenseman Brandon Davidson and goalkeeper Antti Niemi. Daniel Lacroix and Stéphane Waite were the only two assistant coaches on the rink.

Matthews, a game time decision

Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs held an optional skate at the Bell Center with eight players including Auston Matthews.

The talented Maple Leafs forward, the team’s leading scorer with 19 points in 16 games, has missed his team’s last four games. That did not stop Mike Babcock’s team from accumulating five consecutive victories.

The Leafs have said a decision on Matthews’ return to play will be made during the pre-game warm-up.

This will be the second game between the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs this season. It is rare that the intensity is not at the rendezvous when these two formations clash.

“It’s a game against Toronto on a Saturday night, a game inside our section. It’s a good team. You use matches like this to see where you’re going. It’s a team you want to beat every time you play it, “said Drouin.

On October 14, the Maple Leafs snatched a 4-3 victory even though they were limited to 22 shots against Price.

Matthews had scored two goals, including the winning net after 48 seconds of overtime play.

“We liked the way we played against them last time. If we limit their speed in the neutral zone, it should be good for us, “remarked Drouin.

Beyond the natural rivalry and intrasection, the meeting is of particular importance for the Canadian, who will complete this evening a sequence of six games in front of his fans. Starting Tuesday, he will play two games in two nights away from the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators.

For now, the Canadian have been limited to 5 points out of a possible 10 and need a win in regulation to surpass the 500 mark for the first time this season.

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About the Author: James Johnson

James Johnson is one of the lead editors for NB Post Gazette. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. James specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.

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