The measuring stick is getting a workout.
To the surprise of more than a few, the Canadiens stomped a Western Conference powerhouse on Thursday night. The 5-2 final score flattered Winnipeg.
Saturday night at the Bell Centre, they face another Canadian team wearing blue and white jerseys. And the Leafs may present a more formidable challenge than the Jets.
For one thing, Mike Babcock’s team will have studied tape of what the Canadiens did to Winnipeg.
Whether that will help will depend on the visitors’ ability to slow down the Jonathan Drouin-Phillip Danault-Brendan Gallagher line that combined for three goals and 10 points against the Jets.
Another factor will be the Canadiens’ efforts to contain some of the NHL’s most explosive forwards, led by John Tavares, Auston Matthew and Mitch Marner.
It could come down to a goaltenders’ battle: Carey Price, who’s been on fire since the beginning of December, and Frederik Andersen, solid since the season began.
The teams haven’t met since the season opener, when the Canadiens outshot the home team 36-26 – including 15 in the third period – but Matthews scored in Overtime to secure a 3-2 W.
A win would vault the Canadiens ahead of Toronto into second place in the Atlantic Division.
The Bell Centre will be rocking’ when the puck drops at 7:10ish.
Check back later for live game blogging.