Habs going back to Huet in goal

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:33 AM ET

An Andrew Raycroft-Cristobal Huet goaltending duel does not have quite the same ring as Bower-Worsley or Dryden-Palmateer.

But the goalies for the Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens, respectively, have a playoff-style match on tonight at the Air Canada Centre.

Toronto, which hasn't won in regulation in the past five games (2-2-1), needs Raycroft -- making his 16th consecutive start -- to get the job done in 60 minutes or less to support its playoff run.

But when the Habs go to Huet tonight, as expected, it would mean activating a goalie who hasn't played since Feb. 14 following hamstring surgery.

Prior to getting hurt, the pride of St. Martin d'Heres, France, had a record of 19-15-3, bettering Raycroft with a .915 save percentage while beating the Leafs in a shootout and losing 4-1.

Coach Guy Carbonneau's switch from rookie Jaroslav Halak -- who is 10-6 with a 2.89 goals-against average -- to Huet in the third period of Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Rangers in New York was a strong hint he prefers a veteran in net, even a rusty one, with the season on the line.

Halak is 7-0 at home, 3-6 on the road and Montreal has been in a road funk, losing seven of its past nine.

"We have to be aggressive right at the start. We need to come out strong," forward Steve Begin told The Canadian Press yesterday after practice in Tarrytown, N.Y. "We know it's going to be a very intense game. It's going to be a war."

Waiting in the wings are the Buffalo Sabres, poised to start a series against one of the Canadian rivals or the New York Islanders on Tuesday. The Sabres wrap up against the Flyers tomorrow afternoon.


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