The NHL is back and set up with an action packed slate of games on October 13. Five games are up on the board throughout Wednesday night. One of these matchups will be between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs. These two teams are coming off postseason appearances a season ago. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time.
Montreal is coming off a great finish to a surprising season. The Canadiens finished in fourth place of the North division last season, which had them sneak into the postseason. Montreal then knocked off the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights in route to a Stanley Cup appearance. The Canadiens will look to prove that run was legit with a win in the season opener.
The Maple Leafs had another strong regular season, which ended in disappointment. Toronto dominated the North division in route to the top seed, but fell in the first round to Montreal. The Maple Leafs had a 3-1 series lead in that series and will look to bounce back this season. Toronto will be looking for some revenge early in this one.
These two teams made the playoffs last season when they were in the North division, but now they are back in a very competitive Atlantic division. The Canadiens will look to prove the doubters wrong early in this season, while Toronto will look for some revenge after last season’s shocking finish. If either team can come out hot in this one, it could be enough for the win.
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Montreal Canadiens||+1 ½ (-165)||+147||Over 5 ½ (-130)|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||-1 ½ (+145)||-164||Under 5 ½ (+118)|
|Team Data||Montreal Canadiens||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Away/ Home Record||11-10-7||18-7-3|
|Goals Per Game||2.82||3.32|
|Goals Per Game Away/ Home||2.86||3.39|
|Save Percentage Away/ Home||.903||.901|
- 73-86 in games during last two seasons
- 10-13 in last 23 road games with total of 5 ½
- 18-22 in last 40 games during first half of season
- 41-50 in last two seasons against division
Toronto Maple Leafs
- 77-61 in games last two seasons
- 4-7 in last 11 home games with 5 ½ total
- 22-19 during first half of season
- 50-35 against division last two seasons
These two teams met up 10 times throughout the regular season last season. The Maple Leafs earned a record of 7-2-1 throughout those ten games. Toronto also outscored the Canadiens 34-25 in that ten game series. These teams met up in the first round of the playoffs as well. The Maple Leafs went up 3-1 in that series, but three straight wins by Montreal helped the Canadiens move on.
GAME DAY: Maple Leafs open season vs Canadiens https://t.co/swc3sKHxcc
— Toronto Sun (@TheTorontoSun) October 13, 2021
The Canadiens struggled a bit on special teams throughout last season. Montreal capitalized on 19.2 percent of their power play chances, which was 17th in the NHL. The Canadiens also earned a penalty kill percentage of 78.5 percent, which was 23rd in the league.
Toronto’s power play was solid last season, but their penalty kill struggled a bit. The Maple Leafs scored on 20 percent of their power play opportunities, which was 16th in the league. Toronto’s penalty kill percentage was 78.5 percent, which was also 23rd in the NHL.
These two teams were not great on either side of special teams throughout last season. The Maple Leafs will look for their stars to get going early in this season on the power play, but will be without Auston Matthews in this one. Montreal will look to keep their penalty kill going at what it was at in the postseason.
I expect Jake Allen to get the start for the Canadiens in the season opener. Allen finished last season with a record of 11-12-5 in his starts. He posted a save percentage of .907 and a 2.68 GAA in those matchups. Allen went 2-3 against the Maple Leafs last season with a .907 save percentage and a GAA of 2.66.
Either Petr Mrazek or Jack Campbell will get the nod for Toronto on Wednesday night. Mrazek went 6-2-3 with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. He had a .923 save percentage and a GAA of 2.06 in those matchups. Campbell went 17-3-2 with the Maple Leafs last season, earning a save percentage of .921 and a 2.15 GAA.
Montreal will be without their superstar goaltender Carey Price to open up the season. This will put most of the workload on Jake Allen to open up the season. The Maple Leafs have a good split option between Mrazek and Campbell, who both had great seasons last season. If any of these goalies can get into a groove early in this matchup, it could be enough for the win.
The Maple Leafs had another heartbreaking finish in the first round a season ago. Now Toronto will look to regroup and finally carry their success deep into the season. The Maple Leafs open up this season with a rematch against Montreal. I expect Toronto to come out quickly in this one as they try to get some revenge on the team that knocked them out of the postseason.
BetOnline has the Maple Leafs listed as a -164 against the money line in this one. This implies that Toronto will win this game around 62.1 percent of the time. I think that this line is accurate, but it does not have a lot of value. The Maple Leafs are also listed at -1 ½ for +145. I think that Toronto will control this game, which gives this line some good value.