Published January 13, 2015
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to win for the first time this month on the road as they battle the rival Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
The Maple Leafs have not claimed a victory as the visiting team since Oct. 30 in Calgary, going 0-3-3 away from Toronto since. That includes a pair of post- regulation setbacks on their current three-game swing as the Leafs dropped a shootout in Pittsburgh on Wednesday before getting dealt a 3-2 overtime defeat on Friday in Buffalo.
James Reimer made 26 saves before getting beat by Christian Ehrhoff on a long wrist shot 38 seconds into the bonus frame. Phil Kessel scored the 199th goal of his career and Nikolai Kulemin also tallied.
Toronto got off 10 shots in the third period and had a chance to go ahead late when James van Riemsdyk had a shorthanded breakaway with 30 seconds to play. However, Buffalo's Matt D'Agostini prevented van Riemsdyk from getting a shot off thanks to a diving backcheck, though van Riemsdyk was surprised nothing was called.
"Usually when you're in all alone and you get your legs taken out from under you, you expect something, especially when the calls have been what they were," said van Riemsdyk of the play. "We can't use officiating as an excuse. We've got to find ways to be better."
Looking to snap their six-game road skid, the Maple Leafs have won three straight and six of their past seven games in Montreal. That includes a season-opening 4-3 victory on Oct. 1.
Reimer made 34 saves, but could give way tonight to Jonathan Bernier, who has lost both of his previous starts versus the Habs while allowing six goals on 60 shots.
Montreal has lost four of its past six versus Toronto overall and had a four- game winning streak snapped last night with a 3-2 shootout setback to the Washington Capitals.
Peter Budaj made 24 saves through overtime, but saw the Caps' Mikhail Grabovski sneak a puck between his pads after faking a shot in the fourth round of the shootout. Tomas Plekanec, who scored and had an assist in regulation, then had his chance poke-checked away.
Danny Briere also scored for the Canadiens, who are 6-1-2 in their last nine games.
"I thought we were the team that dictated the game in the third (period). I thought we played well enough to win the game, so I'm disappointed that we came up short, but I believe our effort was there and when you go to a shootout, you never know. We found a way to score two goals but it was not good enough," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said.
Carey Price should start tonight for the Habs and dipped below .500 in his career versus the Maple Leafs when he allowed four goals on 38 shots in the Oct. 1 loss. He is 11-12-1 lifetime in this series with a 2.69 goals against average and three shutouts.