Posted April 06, 2012 on AP on Fox
While the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens don't have anything to play for, the Northeast Division rivals seem unlikely to go down without a fight as they close their schedules Saturday night. Montreal (30-35-16) has allowed a combined 13 goals in dropping three straight home matchups with Toronto (35-36-10). The Leafs have taken three of five in the series this season - most recently prevailing 3-1 at the Bell Centre on March 3 behind two goals and an assist from Mikhail Grabovski. "We have to get ready to give 100% in our last game now. There's nothing else to save it for," Canadiens goaltender Peter Budaj, who is expected to make his fourth consecutive start in place of injured Carey Price (concussion), told the team's official website. "They're out of the playoffs, we're out of the playoffs, but there's still a lot of pride to play for - it will be a good battle." Assured of finishing last in the Eastern Conference and with fewer than 80 points for the first time since 2002-03, Montreal dropped to 1-2-3 over its last six games with Thursday's 2-1 shootout loss at Carolina. Center Blake Geoffrion provided the team's only offense while Budaj made 28 saves. "All of us want to go into next year getting that confidence back," Geoffrion said. "Playing for the future is really the message in the room right now, and playing for pride." Toronto is coming off its second win in three games, defeating Tampa Bay 3-2 in overtime Thursday. Jake Gardiner, who assisted on Tim Connolly's first-period goal, tied the score with 2:55 remaining in regulation before fellow defenseman Dion Phaneuf notched the game-winner with 59 seconds to play. The Leafs won their final two home games after losing a franchise-worst 11 straight there Feb. 11-March 29. "We've got great fans," said Phaneuf, who's recorded just three points in his last 15 games. "We struggled at home for awhile, no one was happy about it. We have not been playing the way that we want to play. "But we wanted to finish our year off, our last game at home in front of our fans, the way we (did)." Gardiner, meanwhile, continues to impress in his first season in the league. He leads all rookie defenseman with 30 points - nine coming in his last 11 games. "He's had a really good year. I think that throughout the whole year he's gotten better. He's really taken a lot of strides," Phaneuf said. "That's what makes him so good is how he skates the puck and sees the ice - when he's skating he's a dangerous player." Ben Scrivens made 35 saves Thursday, improving to 4-4-2 with a 3.13 goals-against average on the season. Scrivens, who has never faced Montreal, is 0-2-1 with a 3.98 GAA in his last three road starts. In his only career start versus Toronto, Budaj turned away 27 shots in a 4-1 Colorado road win Oct. 18, 2006. Budaj has done an admirable job filling in for Price, posting a 1.58 GAA over the Canadiens' last three games. Leading Montreal with 63 points, left winger Max Pacioretty has tallied 18 goals and 22 assists in 40 home games. He's notched just six in 14 career matchups versus the Leafs, though. Toronto's Phil Kessel tallied his team-best 82nd point with an assist Thursday, giving him five in his last three games.

Habs goalie assists on easiest goal ever

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Peter Budaj must have been in a giving mood Wednesday as he donated to Vinny Lecavalier’s goal scoring fund. Lecavalier misplayed a pass from a teammate along the right wing and the puck slid into the Canadiens’ zone. Budaj skated out to the left face-off circle to play it and play it he did. He served the puck up on a silver platter like a waitress...

Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1

Tomas Plekanec scored a rare short-handed goal with Montreal down two players and the Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 Saturday night in the regular-season finale for both teams. Max Pacioretty, Erik Cole and Brad Staubitz also scored for Montreal (31-25-16), which finished last in the Eastern Conference. Staubitz's goal into an empty net with 1:58 to play was his...

Stamkos scores 59th, Bolts lose in OT

TORONTO (AP) -- Ben Scrivens didn't want to be part of Steve Stamkos' big milestone. The NHL's leading scorer got his 59th goal of the season, but Dion Phaneuf scored the game-winner in overtime for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 3-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. "I just didn't want to give up 60," said Scrivens, the Leafs'...

Howard Berger: Leafs-NHL Conspiracy Uncovered

TORONTO (Apr. 5) – What a horrendous time it must be for life-and-death followers of the Maple Leafs. Those who watch the club with rooting interest but are not overly effected by results have it difficult enough. The people whose waking hours are governed by Leaf fortunes must be the embodiment of emotional chaos. Perusing the Internet shows the latter group exacerbating...

Ken Beckett: Maple Leafs Game Day - Game 82: Leafs vs. Canadiens

Following a long season which will culminate with no playoff hockey for both franchises, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens face off one last time to close out the 2011-12 campaign. This is the sixth and final meeting between the original six rivals. The Leafs lead the way in the season series, taking three of five from the Habs. Their most recent victory was a 3-1...

Ken Beckett: Max-imum Effort - Pacioretty Scores Game Winner as Habs Dump Leafs

The last game of the season may not have meant much in the standings between two teams both set to miss the playoffs, but Max Pacioretty put a cap on what has been a breakthrough season, registering a goal and an assist to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Pacioretty earned first star of the game honours in the Habs’ win as his second...

TFC and Montreal Set for First MLS Derby

The grace period is over for Toronto FC. With their elimination from the Champions League this week, their focus will turn to the MLS regular season, or at least one would hope. Saturday’s game will be history in the making as the two teams are set to renew their rivalry, however, for the first time in MLS play. The Canadian rivals never fail to entertain fans when they meet....

Mike Augello: Thank You, Mr. Frost; Leafs Vs Canadiens

Tonight's season finale at the Bell Centre against Montréal is the capper to one of the most tumultuous seasons in recent memory for the Toronto Maple Leafs. A season that saw the Blue-and-White bolt out of the starting gate and lead the NHL in points for the first month, that saw forwards Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul at the top of the league’s scoring for the first...

Mike Augello: Second Chance Lottery

Focusing on attaining a top five pick in the upcoming NHL draft is the only remaining positive to be accomplished for the 2011-12 Toronto Maple Leafs(which is truthfully a sad thing to say), but as they have been want to do over the last few years, the club cannot even get that right. They have repeatedly sabotaged positioning and the chance to draft potential franchise players for...

Peter Budaj's goaltending blunder

[youtube]N0jyZsYU0_g[/youtube] The Montreal Canadiens will not be in the 2011-12 playoffs. Carey Price is out with a minor concussion. As if Montreal fans weren't depressed enough, backup goaltender Peter Budaj added insult to injury.  In just his 15th start of the season, Budaj committed a huge blunder, wandering well out of his crease to handle a puck coming into his zone...

Video- Perhaps The Bad Goal Of The Year

Peter Budaj with the perfect pass to Vinny Lecavalier.
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