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The 2017-18 campaign comes to a close for the Canadiens on Saturday night when they square off against the playoff-bound Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

Even though things haven't gone the Habs' way this season, head coach Claude Julien still expects his group to offer up a solid effort from start to finish against their Atlantic Division rivals and finish the year on a positive note.

The veteran bench boss knows that the Maple Leafs present a formidable challenge, though, especially on home turf, with a 28-10-2 record in their own barn.

"They're a really good team. They're a good skating team. They've got some good young players. They weren't going to surprise anyone this year, like they did the year before. They still managed to have 103 points right now, so that means there's been some improvement in that club as well," said Julien, following Friday's practice session at the MasterCard Centre in Etobicoke, ON. "I just think they've got some good potential there, and they also have the ability to get better with what they've got right now in their lineup."

The Canadiens have come out on the wrong side of the scoresheet in all three previous meetings with the Maple Leafs this season, and were outscored by a 14-3 margin along the way. They've also been shut out in their last two games against Mike Babcock's squad.

Charles Hudon didn't practice on Friday due to injury, while David Schlemko was given a therapy day.

Julien confirmed that Carey Price would get the start in goal after Antti Niemi backstopped the Canadiens to a 4-3 win over the Red Wings on Thursday night in Detroit.

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10 minutes ago, H_T_L said:

Really sad  day.

And to think that some of these players we're watching are only a few years removed from riding the buses. And all of them did it. 

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