The Canadiens take on the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre in what could be a first-round playoff preview (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
“Could you imagine what that would be like?” Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban told reporters after practice Friday in Toronto. “That would be crazy, but we’re not thinking past tomorrow night’s game.”
The Leafs’ Nazam Kadri grew up as a Canadiens fan in London, Ont., and has fond memories of the Habs-Leafs rivalry.
“Canadiens-Leafs, Saturday night, Hockey Night in Canada, that was hockey for me,” Kadri told reporters on Friday. “I remember all my friends would be excited and we’d make bets, silly things like if your team lost you’d have to wear the other team’s sweater.”
A Habs-Leafs matchup would be a dream for Canadian TV networks and businesses around the Bell Centre.
“As a fan, I’d love to see Montreal-Toronto,” Patrick Massari, part owner of Madisons New York Grill & Bar across from the Bell Centre, told The Gazette’s Brenda Branswell.
“I think just for the country and for the sport, it would be amazing,” Massari added.
Asked if he worried about the Canadiens playing the Leafs, who have beaten them twice this season, Massari said: “The only thing I worry about is losing to them,” adding that he has friends who are Leafs fans and wouldn’t hear the end of it.
“Whatever they rub in our face, all we have to say is 1967,” he joked, alluding to the last time the Leafs won the Stanley Cup.
“It’s all in good fun.”
The Canadiens did not hold a morning skate Saturday in Toronto.
Carey Price will start in goal against the Leafs. The lines at practice Friday in Toronto were: Bourque-Plekanec-Gionta; Pacioretty-Desharnais-Gallagher; Galchenyuk-Eller-Ryder; Prust-Halpern-Moen; White-Dumont-Blunden. The defence pairings were: Markov-Bouillon; Subban-Gorges; Beaulieu-Drewiske; Weber-Kaberle.
(Photo by Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)