MAPLE LEAFS (6-5-0) at CANADIENS (6-3-1)
TV: NHLN-US; CBC, RDS
MORNING SKATE UPDATE:
There wasn't much news out from the morning skate in Montreal on Saturday.
Head coach Randy Carlyle acknowledged one of the biggest challenges in this shortened season.
"There isn't much practice time is the toughest part and your players are playing every second night which makes it hard for them to rest up," Carlyle said.
The Leafs aren't expected to make any lineup changes despite Mike Brown being close to a return.
"We'll have to make a decision as this has only been his second full day of practice with the hockey club and we need to make sure our players are more than 100 per cent ready," Carlyle said. "We have lots of bodies around and we will have discussion."
If Brown doesn't play, the below is what the forward and defence pairings may look like:
Last 10: Toronto 5-5-0; Montreal 6-3-1
Season series: This is the second of five meetings this season between the Northeast division rivals. The Maple Leafs got goals from Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak - with Phil Kessel earning assists on both - in a 2-1 win at Bell Centre on opening night.
Big story: The Maple Leafs arrive at Bell Centre with wins in the first two games of a three-game road trip, while the Canadiens are in the midst of their first losing streak of the season, albeit a modest one of two games.
Maple Leafs: Leafs Nation breathed a collective sigh of relief Thursday when last season's top scorer Phil Kessel finally scored his first of the season in his 11th game, snapping the team's 0-for-14 power-play drought in the process.
Kessel's goal also turned out to the be the winner in a 3-2 victory at Winnipeg, improving Toronto's record away from the Air Canada Centre to an outstanding 5-1-0, including a 2-1 win in Montreal on opening night.
"You just hope that he can use this as a building block," coach Randy Carlyle said of Kessel. "Goal scorers have streaks, and we hope this is the start of a streak."
The Leafs have won four of their last five games at Bell Centre.
Canadiens: A tendency from last season's Canadiens team that finished last in the Eastern Conference has begun to creep back into the play of this year's team. The Canadiens entered the third periods of their last two games holding a lead, and lost both. Against Boston on Wednesday, Montreal led 1-0 after 40 minutes only to see the Bruins score twice in the first 2:05 of the third and win 2-1. The next night in Buffalo, Montreal led 4-2 in the third period when Ryan White was assessed a double minor for roughing at 7:32, allowing the Sabres back into the game with a power-play goal and tying it with just 1.9 seconds left before beating the Canadiens in the shootout.
The Canadiens were the League's worst team last season in terms of winning percentage when leading after two periods, so the last two games should be a concern for a team that believed it had left last season's nightmare firmly in the rear view mirror.
Who's hot: For the Maple Leafs, in addition to scoring his first goal of the season, Kessel had two assists in his previous game, giving him three points in two games. Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer has given up two goals or fewer in three of his last four starts. Matt Frattin has six goals in eight games since being recalled from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, tying him with James van Riemsdyk for the team lead. … For the Canadiens, defenseman P.K. Subban has a point in all four games he's played this season, and he's scored a goal in each of his past two games. Tomas Plekanec has two goals and an assists in his last two games. Defenseman Andrei Markov leads the NHL with 10 power-play points. He has no points at even strength
Injury report: The Leafs are missing forwards Joffrey Lupul (broken forearm) and Mike Brown (shoulder), and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (groin. … The Canadiens are without center Petteri Nokelainen (back).