The Canadiens will try to notch a rare home win when they take on surging Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
Montreal (15-11-5) has lost six straight at the Bell Centre - including two shootouts - after starting the season 5-2-2 there. It’s the Canadiens’ longest home losing streak since a seven-game skid from Oct. 28-Nov. 25, 2000.
Finding the back of the net has been Montreal’s biggest problem at home recently, as it’s scored two regulation goals or less in five of six games. The Canadiens are 2-1-1 this season against the Maple Leafs (14-12-6), but they lost the one game played in Montreal 3-2 on Nov. 3.
Toskala made 32 saves for Toronto in that game, and is 2-0-1 with a 2.32 goals-against average in four career games versus the Canadiens. Toskala - in his first year with Toronto - is having his best stretch of the season, going 6-1-0 in his last seven games and allowing two goals or less in each of those contests.
“I’m seeing the puck well,” Toskala said. “Overall, I’m really comfortable. I’m having fun. That’s the key.”
Toskala continued his hot streak Friday, stopping 24 shots as the Maple Leafs beat Atlanta 4-0 in the opener of a season-high seven-game road trip. It was his second shutout of the season, and eighth of his career.
Montreal, though, is coming off a strong game on the road, getting two goals from Mark Streit in a 4-1 win over Philadelphia on Thursday. After playing defense in the early part of the season, Streit is now part of a forward line.
“I played defenseman for about 25 games because we had a couple of injuries,” said Streit, who scored his first goals in 22 games. “When the coach put me up front, I didn’t maybe shoot as much as I wanted to, but finally tonight I scored twice and it’s a great feeling for my confidence.”
Streit has four goals and 17 points on the season.
Montreal also got a strong game in goal from rookie Carey Price, who has made five straight starts in place of Cristobal Huet, sidelined by a groin injury. Price - the fifth overall pick in the 2005 draft - made 29 saves against the Flyers.
Price is 2-2-1 with a 2.74 GAA since Huet’s injury, and 2-0-0 with a 2.88 GAA in two career starts against Toronto. In his last matchup with the Maple Leafs, Price turned away four of Toronto’s five shootout attempts as Montreal won 4-3 on Nov. 27.
A sixth straight start for Price would pit him against a Toronto team that has scored six goals in two of its last three games. The Maple Leafs lead the NHL with 44 second-period goals, including two Friday.