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Toronto Maple Leaf Tyler Bozak and Montreal Canadien Raphael Diaz.
When: Saturday, April 27, 7 p.m. ET
TV Info: CBC, RDS
Montreal’s last game of the season is against the hated Maple Leafs, and it's key on so many different levels.
For starters, it’s the Leafs, and every Habs-Leafs game is worth watching, if for nothing else than switching back and forth between the CBC and RDS simply for the huge discrepancy between how the two channels call the same game. It’s a game in itself, in all honesty. A shot each time Don Cherry mispronounces a Habs name? Anyone?
Secondly, while there is still one more Toronto-Montreal game between then and now, this one is again the last game of the season, and a lot could still be up in the air—including the Leafs themselves, amazingly, despite their bad habit over the last decade of falling in the standings come autumn and never fully recovering.
It would seem a season ironically starting in the dead of winter was just the tonic to cure their nine-year playoff drought. No word yet on their Stanley Cup one, though, but it might very well take the simultaneous folding of 29 other franchises to lift that particular curse (a win by default is still a win!).
The Leafs have admittedly been good this year, as well. However, as of Wednesday night, they are a full seven points back of the Habs, meaning them missing the playoffs is still a possibility right now, however remote. Montreal could theoretically play spoiler and prevent them from making them on the off chance the Leafs decide to free-fall this spring.
If that’s not in the cards, there’s just no telling how long it will take for the final standings in the Northeast Division to be sorted out. This game would mean a lot to Montreal if it does indeed come down to the final weekend between them and the Bruins (assuming Toronto hasn’t caught up too).
Finally, there’s a lot of pride on the line as well. Toronto still has an embarrassing 6-0 victory over Montreal this season and a 2-1 record overall up to this point.
Even though the Habs somewhat redeemed themselves with a later 5-2 victory, another (couple of) win(s) would certainly do wonders for their collective psyche heading into the playoffs.