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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, April 7, 2018
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario  Attendance: 19,525

Maple Leafs gear up for postseason by hosting Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs

  1. Montreal defeated Detroit, 4-3, at Little Caesars Arena on Thursday night, sweeping its four-game season series with the Wings in the process. The Habs have scored four or more goals 21 times in 2017-18, with four of those performances coming vs. the Red Wings.
  2. Toronto dropped a 2-1 decision in New Jersey on Thursday night, losing for the second time in its last three tilts. The Maple Leafs, who will face either Tampa Bay or Boston in the playoffs, need one more point to set a new franchise single-season record (currently tied with the 2003-04 team with 103 points).
  3. Including two straight shutouts, the Leafs have taken all three meetings with the Canadiens in 2017-18 by a combined score of 14-3. With a victory tonight, Toronto will record its first-ever 4-0-0 campaign vs. Montreal all-time.
  4. Nicolas Deslauriers lit the lamp twice Thursday night, earning first-star honors, and giving him 10 goals in 57 games this season (had 12 goals in his first 211 career NHL contests). Deslauriers has just one point (an assist) in 11 career skates against the Leafs.
  5. William Nylander potted Toronto's lone goal Thursday night, giving him four points (3G, 1A) in his last two games, and 20 markers on the season overall. Nylander has two goals and three assists in seven career skates vs. the Habs.
  6. Toronto has six skaters with at least 20 markers in 2017-18 -- tied with Tampa Bay for tops in the league. Montreal has just two players with 20+ goals this season (tied for second fewest in hockey).

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs will be anticipating the playoffs and the Montreal Canadiens will only be able to look forward to next season when the teams meet in their final game of the regular season on Saturday night.

The Maple Leafs looked like a team that was more interested in looking ahead to the playoffs than the remainder of the regular season Thursday when they lost to the Devils 2-1 in New Jersey.

"I thought this was fair," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said after the game Thursday. "I thought the team that worked the hardest won. I thought they were more desperate early. We weren't good enough defensively. We didn't compete hard enough. I thought we competed hard as the game went on.

"We had our chances but, in the end, we couldn't overcome it. The bottom line is we've got one more game. This is our last chance to get ready but we're going to have to get to another level than we were tonight for sure."

The Canadiens, meanwhile, looked like a team that is making the most of what is left of the season when they defeated the Red Wings 4-3 in Detroit on Thursday.

"I'm not used to losing. I don't like to lose," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. "But at the same time, I have to be objective and look at the situation and there were some challenges along the way that we didn't expect, a number of injuries, and players having to move up in the lineup in areas they weren't quite ready for."

The Maple Leafs (48-26-7) do have something to play for Saturday at the Air Canada Centre. The loss to the Devils kept them at 103 points, which equals a franchise best for a season. So, they still have a chance to set a franchise record for total points in a season.

"Two different situations but we're all competitive people and we're all very prideful," Toronto center Nazem Kadri said. "That's what got us here in the first place, so I don't think we take any games off. Obviously, we didn't start (Thursday) the way we wanted to, but I felt that we made a push."

Goaltender Frederik Andersen will be trying for a club record 38th win in a season by a Toronto netminder on Saturday.

Still, the playoffs will be on the minds of the Maple Leafs.

"You're focusing on these games to get ready for the playoffs," said Toronto center William Nylander, who scored the goal Thursday. "So, whatever we're doing now is trying to get prepared for the playoffs."

Nylander became the sixth Maple Leafs player to reach 20 goals this season.

The Canadiens (29-39-13) have been dealing with injuries all season, including season-ending ones to their top defenseman Shea Weber (foot surgery) and their captain Max Pacioretty (knee).

"It's unbelievable the number of injuries and the types of injuries," Julien said. "When we started the season, we felt we had enough veterans and enough experience to bring in some young guys and still battle through and get ourselves in the playoffs. But there's a lot of things that have happened and concussions are one of those issues that we've had more than we'd like."

The Canadiens have had five players with concussions listed on the injury report this season.

Updated April 6, 2018

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