The Toronto Maple Leafs have finally started to turn things around, squeezing out a few wins after struggling through the meaty part of January.
They still sit just one point ahead of the next-highest team in the Atlantic Division, though, and that makes their Saturday evening game an especially-crucial four-point matchup – because the game is against the third place Atlantic team, the Montreal Canadiens.
It’s been a surprisingly positive year for the Canadiens, who were expected to still be knee-deep in their rebuild before seeing starter Carey Price return to form.
It’s that elite starter who’s going to be facing off against Toronto as they look to continue their recent streak of scoring. It won’t be easy to beat him – but a win for the Leafs will give them a nice three-point cushion over their bitter divisional rivals.
Since arriving in Toronto, Jake Muzzin has three points in four games, a 56.4 Corsi For Percentage, and the team hasn’t lost in regulation.
Who cares? We hate this team.
Tonight’s game is a battle of the starters, with Frederik Andersen facing off against Carey Price to potentially keep Saturday night a low-scoring affair.
Andersen has been the heartbeat of the Leafs this season, putting up a .923 save percentage in all situations throughout the year. He’s put up a quality start in 24 of his 37 games so far, good for nearly 65% of his appearances, and he’s been a driving force in the team’s last four games; with two performances boasting .930 save percentages or better and a 40-save performance in their last game, he’s been crucial.
For Montreal, though, it’s hard to get better than Carey Price has been recently. He’s had a .940 or better in four of his last five games, including a 32-save effort against Winnipeg in the team’s last outing. He hasn’t allowed more than three goals since January 10th, and he’s allowed two or fewer goals in six of his last seven games.