(Sports Network) - Even if it isn't enough to earn the Montreal Canadiens a
Northeast Division title, the club still has a chance to enter the playoffs on
only its second winning streak of the month.
The Habs look to stay alive in the chase for the second seed on Saturday night
when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs in a possible first-round playoff
Montreal is tied with Boston atop the Northeast Division with 61 points, but
while the Canadiens end their regular season tonight, the Bruins will host the
Ottawa Senators on Sunday following their road matchup with the Washington
Capitals on Saturday.
The Habs do have one more non-shootout win than the Bruins, which is the first
Montreal won for only the second time in its past seven games on Thursday,
beating the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. David Desharnais, Brendan Gallagher and Max
Pacioretty all scored third-period goals, while Rene Bourque also lit the
P.K. Subban and Lars Eller each contributed two assists for Montreal, with
Carey Price stopping 23-of-25 shots on the evening.
"(Carey Price) is our best player. He is our leader," Montreal coach Michel
Therrien said of his netminder. "Tonight as far as I'm concerned, he was our
Price is looking to round into form ahead of the playoffs, as is Pacioretty,
who has scored a goal in three straight games and has logged four goals and
three assists over a six-game point streak.
Montreal, looking to capture its first division title since 2008, can finish
now lower than fourth in the East, giving the club home-ice in the opening
round of the playoffs. A fourth-place finish could lead to a series with
Toronto, which currently sits in fifth place, three points ahead of the
Ottawa does have two games left and is hosting the Philadelphia Flyers tonight
ahead of Sunday's make-up game with Boston stemming from the postponement of
an April 15 contest due to the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Toronto can finish no lower than sixth in the East and would finish fifth with
just one point in this game.
The Maple Leafs, who are set to make their first playoff appearance since
2004, had lost three of four before blanking the Florida Panthers 4-0 on
Thursday. James Reimer made 34 saves for his fourth shutout of the season.
"We didn't feel we played our best last night (a 5-2 loss at Tampa Bay), so we
wanted to come in here and make a statement for ourselves," said Reimer, who
has 10 career shutouts. "That's what we wanted to do today, we wanted to get
right back on track and we were able to do that."
Phil Kessel scored twice, giving him nine goals in his last 10 games, while
Clarke MacArthur and Leo Komarov also scored. Nazem Kadri had a pair of
The Maple Leafs have won three of four versus the Canadiens this season,
splitting two earlier meetings in Toronto. Their 5-1 victory on April 13,
keyed by Reimer's 36 saves, snapped a three-game slide at home to the Habs.
The Sports Network