Your Montreal Canadiens have 10 games left in their regular season.
Six are on the road, starting Monday night in Boston.
Then Buffalo is at the Bell Centre on Tuesday
The Canadiens will face Detroit twice, and that should be interesting because the Red Wings are in a desperate fight for a playoff spot.
As are the Leafs, who lost a heartbreaker to the Canadiens on Saturday night.
Many of the broken hearts beat within the homer chests of our national broadcaster.
I honestly don’t understand how anyone who isn’t a Toronto fan can watch Hockey Night in Canada.
Ron MacLean and his fellow Leaf-blowers – none more egregious than Glenn Healy – are doing more for bilingualism than Pierre Trudeau. Their shameless homerism is motivating viewers to learn at least enough French for comprehension of what Pierre Houde and Marc Denis are saying on RDS hockey telecasts.
That’s what makes it so sweet when the Canadiens beat the Leafs, as they have three tines in five meetings this season. Each loss brings funereal gloom to the HNIC cheerleaders.
But enough about them. The Canadiens probably won’t face the Leafs again until next season, when Sportsnet’s version of Hockey Night might offer up a more evenhanded take on a great rivalry.
The Canadiens and Leafs conjured up a terrifically entertaining game, refreshingly free of the goonery that has marred too many meetings between these teams. Neither defence corps is the NHL’s best, which made for extended puck possession in the offensive zones and lots of good scoring chances.
Each team had 36 shots on goal. The Leafs had 23 shots blocked and another 14 missed the net. The Canadiens also missed the net on 14 shots and had 12 blocked.
That’s a lot of shooting, and it was fun to watch.
The difference was goaltending. With the score tied 3-3 in the third period, Carey Price stopped the terrifying Phil Kessel on a breakaway. At the other end of the ice, James Reimer was letting in shots he should have stopped … like Tomas Plekanec’s winning goal.
I liked the reconfigured forward lines used against the Leafs.
Plekanec provided a calming influence and defensive coverage for Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk.
The David Desharnais line had another good night, but the revelation was the Canadiens’ brand spanking new – in Game 70 – third line.
Back in the lineup after five games as a healthy scratch and playing with fellow veterans Daniel Brière and Brian Gionta, Rene Bourque had a goal, an assist and six shots on goal to lead both teams. Bourque worked hard on every shift, and there were flashes of the talent that produced two 27-goal seasons in Calgary.
Lars Eller looked good centring Dale Weise and Travis Moen on the fourth line. But Eller sustained what looked like a groin injury on a faceoff, and his night was over after 6:37 of ice time.
Michaël Bournival has been recalled from his conditioning stint in Hamilton. He’ll likely centre Weise and Moen in Boston, where they’ll be facing the best fourth line in the NHL: Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton.
Michel Therrien likely will stick with a winning lineup – which will disappoint fans hoping to see more of Jarred Tinordi on the back end. Douglas Murray scared the bejeebers out of Canadiens fans every time he was on the ice against Phil Kessel, but the big lug had four hits, blocked five shots and was plus-2 in 10:13 of action. Mike Weaver, Murray’s partner, was also plus-2 and blocked four shots.
Francis Bouillon continues to play ridiculous minutes: 25:10 against the Leafs. With Josh Gorges out, Therrien will continue to ride Frankie Boo, who’d be the number 8 D-man on many teams – including Boston.
The Bruins were 4-2 winners in Phoenix Saturday night – their 12th in a row.
You don’t want to be facing them as a wild card playoff team – but that might be the best Toronto can hope for.
• David Clarkson, signed through 2020: 15 shifts, 8:54, one hit, one shot, minus-2.
• Some classy Leafs fans took to Twitter to rip James Reimer’s wife. That’s sickening.
• The live game blog had 1,681 Comments. Oh, the playoffs are going to be fun …
• Granted, the NHL isn’t the NFL. But how come the halftime and pre-game football telecasts feature Hall of Fame former coaches and players while HNIC gives us Glenn Healy and P.J. Stock?