Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens preview: NHL hockey returns to Montreal

Richard Wolowicz

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens will begin the 2013 season the same way they ended 2012 when the two teams face off at the Bell Centre on Saturday night.

The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs will kick off the 2013 season the same way they ended the 2012 campaign; playing one another at Montreal's Bell Centre.

While it is an instance of same time, same place, the circumstances have changed.

With both teams cemented as bottom-feeders in the Eastern Conference, last season's contest was merely played for pride. While neither team is likely to be characterized as a Stanley Cup contender this season, each team would like to reestablish themselves as playoff-caliber clubs.

Saturday night's game will mark the first in the post-Brian Burke era for Toronto.

Despite rumors of adding Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, the Leafs are expected to have Ben Scrivens manning the cage on opening night. With head coach Randy Carlyle expressing the desire for a more defensive approach, the team will try to give the inexperienced Scrivens some support on the backend.

For Montreal, opening night will also mark the first game of a new regime. General manager Marc Bergevin was hired in May and with him came the return of head coach Michel Therrien.

Of course, much of the focus will be on the fact that restricted free agent defense P.K. Subban remains without a new contract and will not be in the lineup for the foreseeable future.

Saturday's game will be broadcast on CBC and RDS at 7 p.m. ET.

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