Habs aim for first win of season series vs. Leafs

The Montreal Canadiens will try to get on the board in their season series with the Toronto Maple Leafs, as the Original Six rivals get together for Wednesday's battle at Air Canada Centre.

Montreal hosted the first two of five meetings between the clubs this season and lost both in regulation. The most recent encounter on Feb. 9 was ugly as Toronto pounded the Habs 6-0 at Bell Centre. James Reimer earned the shutout with 37 saves and Phil Kessel contributed a goal and two assists to the blowout.

The Maple Leafs have won five of the last eight contests in this historic rivalry, but Montreal has taken two in a row and three of the past four games in Toronto.

One thing that will be different from the last matchup is the Canadiens won't have to face Reimer this time around. The goaltender is close to returning from a sprained left knee, but he is expected to miss Wednesday's game.

Ben Scrivens has made seven straight starts in Reimer's absence and is 4-3-0 in those outings. He turned aside 23 shots on Monday to help the Maple Leafs hold on for a 4-2 victory at Philadelphia.

Mikhail Grabovski scored the eventual deciding goal in the third period and Jay McClement later sealed the win with an empty-netter. Phil Kessel and Nikolai Kulemin also lit the lamp for Toronto.

"You have to give our guys credit," said Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle. "They battled and went toe-to-toe with a pretty good hockey team over there."

Toronto is playing three of its next four games on home ice and has won three straight at Air Canada Centre to improve its record as the host to 4-4-0.

The Canadiens have lost two of their last three contests, but have earned a point in eight straight games (6-0-2) since the Feb. 9 rout against the Leafs.

Montreal dropped a 2-1 shootout decision at Ottawa on Monday. Peter Regin scored the winner in the fifth round of the shootout and Ben Bishop made 44 saves to continually frustrate the Canadiens.

"The result was not in our sight," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "Bishop was outstanding. I liked the way we played. We competed, we played hard. We were aggressive on the puck. We had traffic; we hit (three) posts. For me, it always about how we're going to play, and I believe we played a good hockey game."

Andrei Markov scored the lone goal for the Canadiens, while Carey Price stopped 23-of-24 shots in defeat.

Montreal had won three straight on the road prior to Monday's loss. The Habs are 4-1-2 as the guest this season.

Habs forward Rene Bourque is expected to miss a third straight game with a concussion on Wednesday. Forwards Colton Orr and Mike Brown are both questionable for Toronto with lower-body injuries.