The NHL is set to start up on Wednesday night. Five games are up on the board throughout the night of action. One of the games to kick off the new season will be between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs. These two teams will look to start this season out strong with a win. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time.
Montreal finished out last season with a record of 31-31-9, which helped put them in fifth place of the Atlantic Division. The Canadiens snuck into the qualifying round, where they faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Montreal pulled off a great upset, but were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. The Canadiens will look to start this season off with a bang and a big win.
The Maple Leafs put up a record of 36-25-9 throughout last season, which had them in third place of the Atlantic Division. Toronto met up with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the qualifiers. The Maple Leafs lost in a tough five game series, which got them switching things up this offseason. Toronto will look to start this season off much better with a win in this one.
These two teams were competitive last season, but shockingly the Canadiens were able to earn a win in their qualifying round series. Toronto was eliminated in five games, but are looking to come out much better this season. The Maple Leafs will look to bounce back with a win in this one as they face off against Montreal. This season will be interesting with these teams competing in the North division.
The Canadiens and the Maple Leafs met up three times throughout last season. Toronto hosted the first game on October 5. Alexander Kerfoot had a goal and two assists, while Auston Matthews scored twice. Brenden Gallagher had a goal and two assists and Max Domi had a goal and an assist. Paul Byron scored the winner in the shootout to propel Montreal to a 6-5 win.
The second meeting of the season series was on October 26 in Montreal. Andreas Johnsson and Jake Muzzin scored, but it was not enough. Jonathan Drouin had two goals on the night, while Joel Armia finished with a goal and an assist. Carey Price stopped 29 of 31 shots to help lead the Canadiens to a big 5-2 win at home.
The final meeting of the season series stayed in Montreal on February 8. John Tavares opened up the scoring in the third period, but Marco Scandella tied it back up to force overtime. Ilya Kovalchuk scored the game winner in overtime for the Canadiens. Jack Campbell stopped 28 of 30 shots, while Carey Price turned away 22 of the 23 shots he faced.
Montreal was able to sweep the season series last season. The Canadiens were able to win two of those three games in overtime, which should help lead to a good series this season. Montreal was able to make the better playoff run, but it is the Maple Leafs who are the better team. I expect Toronto to try and set the pace in the first meeting of this season as they look for a big win.
Montreal had a solid offseason so far this fall. The Canadiens lost Max Domi, but were able to replace him with Josh Anderson. Montreal also added Jake Allen to backup Carey Price and Joel Edmundson to fill in on the top four defense pairing. The Canadiens added to their offense with the signing of Tyler Toffoli to help the roster out as well.
The Maple Leafs went into this offseason looking to fix their postseason woes. Toronto traded away Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson throughout the offseason. The Maple Leafs added Joey Anderson, Zach Bogosian, T.J. Brodie and Wayne Simmonds. Toronto also added veteran center Joe Thornton to help solidify their lineup.
These two teams had strong offseason performances. The Canadiens addressed a lot of issues in their top lines to try and make them more competitive in the North division. Toronto was able to make their depth much stronger this season. The Maple Leafs defense looks much better too, especially if Liljegren or Sandin make a leap in their development.
Carey Price will likely get the start in the crease for Montreal on Tuesday night. Price finished out last season with a record of 27-25-6 as he carried most of the load. He put up a save percentage of .909 and a 2.79 GAA through those performances. In the playoffs Price posted a .936 save percentage and a GAA of 1.78 through 10 starts.
I expect Frederik Andersen will get the nod in net for the Maple Leafs in this one. Andersen put up a record of 29-13-7 through his starts last season. He earned a .909 save percentage and a GAA of 2.85 through his starts. In Toronto’s short playoff stint, Andersen posted a save percentage of .936 and a 1.84 GAA, but it was not enough.
The Canadiens addressed a big concern in the trade for Jake Allen in the offseason. This will help take some of the pressure off Price down the stretch this season. Andersen is coming off a strong season as well and he will look to help Toronto make a leap. If the Maple Leafs defense can give him some help, he should be able to propel Toronto up this season in the North division.
The Maple Leafs are coming into this season with a chip on their shoulder. Toronto has struggled in the postseason and I think they will look to set the bar high in the North division early. The Maple Leafs strengthened their depth a lot this season, which should give them an edge coming into this season. Montreal had a strong offseason, but I think they will not be able to match Toronto’s intensity early.
BetOnline has the Maple Leafs listed as a -135 against the money line. This gives a solid edge to Toronto, but it does not have much value. I think that the Maple Leafs -1 ½ at +200 has a lot of value though. Toronto will look to come out strong in this one, which could help them dominate. If the Maple Leafs are up late as well, an empty netter could help them clinch this.