Valiant effort by the Montreal Canadiens in the opener on Wednesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. John Tavares and Auston Matthews both got on the board, with Matthews potting the opening goal to tie the game at 1, and then he ended the contest with an overtime goal. It’s fitting that a combo that could prove to be the most dangerous in the NHL were the only Maple Leafs to get on the board. Even with the loss for the Canadiens, it was a hard effort by the Habs that just came up short.
Frederik Andersen had a hand in holding the Canadiens back. Montreal just couldn’t find the back of the net in the 3rd period, they had their chances. In any event, the Canadiens looked much better than advertised. They were actually the aggressors while the Leafs sat back, especially in the 1st period when Montreal looked like the faster team. Max Domi was the best player on the ice at times. They at least take a point from a game that many people saw the Canadiens losing big in.
At the end of the day, though, the Maple Leafs are going to get better, while the Canadiens are in a rebuilding process. Trading Subban pretty much set the wheels in motion for rebuilding. They did get Shea Weber in return, but Subban was the heart and soul of the Canadiens who is now providing that energy in Nashville. The Penguins opened the season against their rivals, the Washington Capitals. It was a wild game with a lot of goals.
The Penguins came from behind, and then the Caps came from 6-4 down to tie it up and go to overtime. Pittsburgh buried the defending Stanley Cup Champions with a Kris Letang goal. It’s a little bit of revenge after the Caps knocked the Pens out last season. However, Ovechkin still has some Cups to win before he catches up to Crosby. We’ll see if the Canadiens have another solid effort in the tank, as they go to Pittsburgh for their second consecutive road game to open the year. Head below for our free Canadiens vs. Penguins pick.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Pick
Matt Murray had a rough go of it in the season opener. He got hit hard for 6 goals while handling 36 shots. It didn’t matter, though, as the high-octane Penguins’ offense throttled Braden Holtby for 41 shots and scoring 7 times. Crosby had some helpers, but didn’t score a goal believe it or not with 7 on the board. The Penguins finished with 3.29 goals per game a season ago for 3rd in the NHL. They were tied with the Maple Leafs in that regard. The offence hasn’t changed much, with plenty of power on their top two lines.
It’s no surprise that they had one of the best power plays in the NHL last year as well. For the Penguins, it’s going to come down to how well Murray holds up. Against the Canadiens, he should look much better. Even though they looked good against the Leafs, don’t expect the Canadiens to be flying around every night. They looked like they were on a sugar high and they are going to see a crash in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.
If Murray plays like that again, they might be able to stay around. However, I wouldn’t bank on him floundering that badly again. With the Canadiens on a back-to-back roadie, against two teams like the Maple Leafs and Penguins, look for them to be dead by the 3rd period. They spent Wednesday night trying to contain Tavares and Matthews, and now they get Crosby and Malkin. To the Kessel lovers, okay, and Kessel. The Canadiens likely won’t be able to keep up, as the Penguins pull away late for a 2 or 3 goal win in the first Saturday of the season. The Penguins have beaten the Canadiens by at least 2 goals in four straight games and probably do it again tonight.