Price in net vs. Leafs

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

In this, his rookie season, Carey Price has been given the nickname "Leaf Buster."

Tonight, he'll get a chance to build on that reputation, when his Montreal Canadiens host the Leafs at the Bell Centre.

Price, 20, will start for the first time since being recalled from the American Hockey League's Hamilton Bulldogs earlier this week. Prior to being sent down to the farm, the young goaltender was a perfect 3-0 against the Leafs this season.

"I've played well against Toronto this year," Price said yesterday.

"I'm sure they'll play hard. Whenever you get stomped, obviously you're going to want to come back the next game and try to redeem yourself, so we expect a really hard-working team."

Price welcomes the opportunity to see game action after a stint in the minors.

"It's nice that they have the confidence to throw me in there right away," he said.

Captain Saku Koivu is wary of the Leafs, feeling their long-time rivals will be looking to make amends after the 8-0 pasting they absorbed at the hands of the Florida Panthers Tuesday.

"You know they are going to be ready," Koivu said. "You know (Tuesday wasn't) a fun day for them.

"They always play a good game when they come to Montreal. We can not take them lightly."

Despite being the third-highest scoring team in the NHL, the team has received most of its offence from the Tomas Plekanec-Alexei Kovalev-Andrei Kostitsyn unit, forcing coach Guy Carbonneau to shuffle his lines.

Koivu, who has just three goals in his past 21 games, will skate with Guillaume Latendresse and Sergei Kostitsyn. His former linemates, Christopher Higgins and Michael Ryder, are feeling Carbonneau's wrath, with Higgins demoted to the fourth line and Ryder an expected healthy scratch for the third consecutive game.

Koivu was benched for part of Montreal's 4-3 victory over Ottawa Tuesday.

LOOSE LEAFS

Injured F Alex Steen (shoulder) is still aiming for Saturday's game against Detroit as his return date ... Maple Leafs alumni will host the Detroit Red Wings alumni at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Ricoh Coliseum. Names like Rick Vaive, Tiger Williams, Marcel Dionne and Bob Probert will be on hand. Tickets can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster.


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