The Canadiens will likely be glad to return to Montreal following a winless road trip. Facing the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs probably makes the homecoming even more appealing.
The Canadiens look to win their fifth straight at the Bell Centre on Saturday night when they host the Maple Leafs, owners of the league’s worst record.
Montreal (6-7-0) got off to a strong start to 2009-10 with back-to-back wins away from the Bell Centre, including a 4-3 overtime victory at Toronto in the season opener, but it has been outscored 23-9 in losing all five road games since.
On their latest two-game trip through Pittsburgh and Chicago, the Canadiens suffered a 6-1 loss to the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins on Wednesday and a 3-2 defeat to the Blackhawks on Friday.
Montreal rallied from a two-goal deficit against Chicago with goals from Mike Cammalleri and Travis Moen(notes) in a 4:02 span late in the second period, but Blackhawks right wing Patrick Sharp(notes) ended the Canadiens’ comeback bid with a goal with 4:10 remaining in the third.
“We started doing some things right and it paid off for a short period of time, but not the whole game,” Cammalleri said.
Getting back to home ice should help.
Montreal has outscored its opponents 15-8 in winning its last four games at the Bell Centre since a 3-1 loss to Ottawa on Oct. 17.
Cammalleri, who signed a free-agent contract with the Canadiens in the offseason, has five goals and three assists in the last five contests in Montreal while Halak has been in net for each game of the home winning streak.
Price stopped a season-high 43 shots against the Maple Leafs on Oct. 1, which marked the start of an awful opening stretch for Toronto (1-7-3).
The Leafs are the league’s only one-win team and have led after two periods just once in 11 games. Despite its terrible start, Toronto has managed to earn at least one point in each of its last three games.
The Leafs, who wrap up a five-game road trip Saturday, are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to Buffalo on Friday, their second consecutive overtime defeat following Monday’s 6-3 win at Anaheim.
“We’re doing a lot of things well,” Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. “If we keep doing this, the results are going to be there. We have to keep persevering.”
Ian White(notes) and Mikhail Grabovski(notes) scored for Toronto against the Sabres while Jonas Gustavsson(notes) made 25 saves in his third straight start in net for the injured Vesa Toskala(notes) (knee).
Toskala, who stopped 23 shots against the Canadiens in the opener and is 0-2-1 with a 5.57 GAA in four games, is expected to dress for this contest, but the rookie Gustavsson will likely get the start.