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Gameday: Maple Leafs visit our oldest friends in Montréal

Toronto starts a back-to-back as the Canadiens finish one.

NHL: OCT 13 Canadiens at Maple Leafs
Ben Chiarot tries vs John Tavares.
Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs at Montréal Canadiens
7 PM on Sportsnet and RDS

Their site: Eyes on the Prize

Today is Jake Muzzin’s birthday, and to celebrate, the NHL schedulers got him a date with Josh Anderson:

It’s always great when you get a gift that’s really tailored to your interests.

Montréal won last night in a shootout over the Islanders (always nice to hear about them losing) in the triumphant return of Andrew Hammond to an NHL net. Rem Pitlick, who the Habs claimed on waivers, was the other unlikely hero who scored the winning shootout goal.

Unlikely heroes are what Montréal has these days, as they enjoy a resurgence under their new rookie coach, Martin St. Louis. No matter what St. Louis does, he can’t hope to ruin the Canadiens standings place, and he can only make the team happier than they were about losing. They have a points percentage of .270, and have won only seven times in regulation.

A lot of their troubles have been in net, which is how they ended up sending an AHLer with nothing much to recommend him to the Wild for Hammond. Hammond’s last NHL game was in the ill-fated 2018 playoffs for the Avalanche so his win has buoyed up the team with feelings of self worth and happiness just in time for the Leafs to show up looking to break a run of bad games.

Someone is ruining someone’s plans.

Them

The most important question is who is in net? They have Sam Montembeault as well as Hammond on the roster, as the long saga of Carey Price not playing hockey continues. The rest of the roster is everyone they can scrape up who isn’t one of the seven players totalling $22.5 million in cap hit on IR. It’s true that Montréal has played badly this season, but no one can have that many injured players and succeed very much.

Last night’s forward lineup looked like this (Daily Faceoff):

Cole Caufield - Nick Suzuki - Josh Anderson
Mike Hoffman - Laurent Dauphin - Brendan Gallagher
Rem Pitlick - Jake Evans - Paul Byron
Micheal Pezzetta - Ryan Poehling - Artturi Lehkonen

Brett Kulak - Jeff Petry
Alexander Romanov - Ben Chiarot
Kale Clague - Chris Wideman

Us

The Leafs made a trade, but Ilya Lyubushkin is not available yet. Rasmus Sandin, papered down to make room for the new guys pending Ryan Dzingel going on waivers, will be back up on the team by gametime. Expect the usual crew to roll out in the usual way:

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Alexander Kerfoot - John Tavares - William Nylander
Ilya Mikheyev - David Kämpf - Ondřej Kaše
Pierre Engvall - Jason Spezza - Wayne Simmonds

Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Jake Muzzin - Timothy Liljegren
Rasmus Sandin - Justin Holl

Petr Mrázek - starter
Jack Campbell

UPDATE: seems as though Dermott is in for Sandin.

The Game

Just because the Canadiens currently feel good about themselves for the first time in ages is no reason not to ruin that. And the Leafs really need to blast the memory of their defensively porous performance against the Blues out of all our minds.

Go, Leafs, go forth and make the Habs unhappy again.