Final SO

Series (Game 5 of 6)

Series tied 3-3

Game 1: Thursday, October 1st
Maple Leafs3
Game 2: Saturday, October 31st
Maple Leafs4Final
Game 3: Tuesday, December 1st
Maple Leafs3Final
Game 4: Saturday, December 26th
Maple Leafs2
Game 5: Saturday, March 20th
Maple Leafs3
Game 6: Saturday, April 10th
Maple Leafs4Final

Canadiens 2

(36-29-7, 79 pts)

Maple Leafs 3

(26-34-12, 64 pts)

Coverage: NHL

7:00 PM ET, March 20, 2010

Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 SO T
MTL 1 0 1 02
TOR 1 1 0 13

J. Mitchell (Maple Leafs - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

B. Gionta (Canadiens - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

P. Kessel (Maple Leafs - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Canadiens-Maple Leafs Preview


Riding their longest winning streak in four seasons, the Montreal Canadiens are trying not to focus on the teams they're chasing in the Eastern Conference race. A matchup with the red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs could give them enough to worry about.

The Canadiens try to extend their winning streak to seven Saturday night, when they face a Maple Leafs club going for five straight home wins for the first time in three seasons.

Tuesday's 3-1 victory at the New York Rangers extended Montreal's longest winning streak since an eight-game run March 23-April 6, 2006. The Canadiens (36-29-6) trail Philadelphia and Ottawa by one point for fifth in the East and are six points behind Northeast Division-leading Buffalo.

"We have to just take care of what is in here," said forward Scott Gomez, who had a goal and an assist in Montreal's last visit to Toronto -- a 3-2 overtime victory Dec. 26. "We've still got a lot of games left. The last thing that we're worried about is these teams. We're worried about what we're doing."

Montreal hasn't had to worry about Jaroslav Halak, who has a 2.06 goals-against average while starting each game of the streak. With a win Saturday, he will tie Jose Theodore's franchise record with his seventh straight victory. Theodore accomplished the feat March 28-April 9, 2002.

Halak is 2-0-0 with a 2.87 GAA in two starts against Toronto this season, but the Maple Leafs (24-34-12) enter this contest with five wins in their last six games.

Toronto, which has an East-worst 62 points, won its fourth straight at home Thursday, 2-1 in a shootout over New Jersey. The last time the Maple Leafs won five in a row at Air Canada Centre was a nine-game run March 6-April 7, 2007.

"They play hard, they play well," Devils forward Zach Parise said. "Sometimes those are the toughest teams to play against when they've got nothing, really, to play for at this time of the year."

Despite likely missing the playoffs for the fifth straight season, the Maple Leafs are looking to close out the final 11 games on a positive note.

"We're playing for each other," said Toronto leading scorer Phil Kessel, who has five goals and three assists in the last six games. "We want to win games. This year isn't over. We're going to play it out to the end, try to win as many games as we can."

Kessel has only one goal in his last 11 games against Montreal.

Having rookie Jonas Gustavsson between the pipes could help the Maple Leafs snap a three-game home losing streak to Montreal.

Gustavsson sat while Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 24 saves Thursday, but the 25-year-old could be back in net as he looks for his fifth straight win. He has a 2.17 GAA during this stretch.

Whoever gets the start in goal will face a Montreal team that is converting an NHL-best 29.9 percent on the power-play on the road. Glen Metropolit extended his career high with his 16th goal Thursday, his team-leading 10th with the man advantage. He had eight power-play goals combined in his first seven NHL seasons.

"When I got to camp this year, I was kind of expecting to have a defensive role as a penalty killer, kind of like last year," Metropolit told the Canadiens' official Web site. "I definitely wasn't expecting to be getting so much time on the power play, let alone leading the team in power-play goals, that's for sure."