NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 27th (All times Eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (28-14-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (26-16-5), 7 p.m.
(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 matchup.
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 tiebreaker.
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 lamp.
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 best player."
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 Senators.
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 assists.
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.
04/27 10:36:27 ET