Montreal remains last overall in the NHL standings with 44 points, but Toronto is on pace for a playoff berth tied with the Bruins for second place in the Atlantic Division.

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The match-up: This is the third of four meetings this season in the NHL’s oldest rivalry and the teams split the first two games. The Leafs were 2-1 winners at home in the season opener in Toronto on Oct. 13 and Josh Anderson scored twice to give the Canadiens a 5-2 win at the Bell Center on Feb. 21. The Canadiens are coming off a 4- 3 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday and remain last overall in the NHL standings with 44 points. The Leafs edged the New Jersey Devils 3-2 Wednesday and are on pace for a playoff berth. They have 85 points and are tied with the Boson Bruins for second place in the Atlantic Division.

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Allen has the reins: Goaltender Jake Allen will make his fifth consecutive start since he returned after missing more than two months with a groin injury. Allen gave up four goals against the Panthers on Thursday, but many of his 38 saves came on Grade A chances and he was awarded one of the game’s three stars. Allen will likely get the bulk of the work while the Canadiens await the return of Carey Price, who has yet to play this season. Price is practicing with the team, but has been off the ice the past three days with a non-COVID illness.

Is Kallgren the answer? Goaltending has been a major problem for the Leafs and the latest savior is 25-year-old Swede Erik Kallgren, who was called up from the Marlies on an emergency loan after Jack Campbell suffered a rib injury. There was a lot of excitement when Kallgren had a shutout in his NHL debut until someone pointed out the last Leaf to turn the trick was Garrett Sparks. Kallgren has a 2-1-1 record with a 2.32 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage. That puts him well ahead of Petr Mrazek, who needed help to forge an 11-6-0 record with a 3.39 GAA and an .885 save percentage. Mrazek has two years remaining on a contract with a $3.8-million cap hit.

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The Nick and Cole show: The Montreal offense continues to run through Nick Suzuki and rookie Cole Caufield. Suzuki scored his 18th goal Thursday with Caufield supplying the assist. Suzuki leads the Canadians with 47 points. After a slow start, Caufield has been on fire since Martin St. Louis replaced Dominique Ducharme. He has 13 goals and 31 points with four goals and two assists over the last five games. There could be a change on defence. Jeff Petry left Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury. If he can’t play, it will provide an opportunity for one of the players picked up at the trade deadline — Justin Barron or William Lagesson.

Leafs boast power: The folks in Toronto are making a case for Auston Matthews as the league’s MVP. He leads the race for the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy with 46 goals, two more than Leon Draisaitl, and Matthews is fifth in the scoring race with 80 points, 15 behind leader Connor McDavid. Matthews is part of a high-powered top line that also features Mitch Marner, who has 27 goals and 69 points, and Michael Bunting, who is the favorite for rookie of the year honors. He leads the rookie scoring race with 49 points. Toronto has the best power play in the league with a success rate of 29.3 per cent and it could get even better with the addition of Mark Giordano.

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