The NHL is set up with another solid night of hockey on Wednesday. Two great original six games will be up on the board throughout February 10. One of those games will be between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. These two teams are battling near the top of the North Division, which should lead to a great game. This one will drop the puck at around 7:30 PM Eastern time.
The Maple Leafs have opened up this season with a record of 10-2-1, which has them in the top spot of the North Division. Toronto has won three games in a row entering this one and have earned a point in their last eight games. The Maple Leafs will look to keep this streak going with a big road victory on Wednesday. I expect Toronto to try and set the pace early in this one.
Montreal has put up a record of 8-2-2 to this point in the season, which has them in second place of the North Division. The Canadiens are coming off a win in their last game and have won three of their last four. Montreal has not played since February 6, which they will look to use to their advantage. If the Canadiens can come out fast after the rest, it could help them earn the win.
These two teams have had strong starts to the season, which has them battling for the top spot in the North Division. I expect Toronto and Montreal to try and set the pace early in this one as they look for another win. If either team can come out hot on Wednesday night, it could give a big edge. With a rivalry like this one, it should be a great game to watch.
The Maple Leafs and the Canadiens 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. It was not enough though. Brendan Gallagher had a goal and two assists as well. Max Domi added a goal and an assist as this game needed a shootout. Paul Byron scored the winner in the shootout to lift Montreal to a 6-5 win.
The second game of last season’s series shifted to Montreal on October 26. Andreas Johnsson and Jake Muzzin both scored for Toronto, but once again it was not enough. Jonathan Drouin had two goals on the night, while Joel Armia had a goal and an assist. Carey Price stopped 29 of 31 shots to help give the Canadiens a 5-2 win at home.
The final game stayed in Montreal on February 8. John Tavares opened up the scoring for the Maple Leafs in the third period. Marco Scandella tied it up though at the end of the third. Ilya Kovalchuk scored the winner in overtime to lift the Canadiens. Carey Price finished with 22 saves on 23 shots as Montreal earned a 2-1 win to sweep the season series.
These two teams met to open up this season as well on January 13 in Toronto. Jonathan Drouin had three assists, while Josh Anderson scored twice. It was not enough for the Canadiens this time though. William Nylander had two goals and an assist, while John Tavares had a goal and two assists. The Maple Leafs erased a 3-1 deficit and Morgan Rielly scored in overtime to give Toronto a 5-4 win.
Toronto’s power play has been very strong to open up this season, but their penalty kill has struggled. The Maple Leafs have capitalized on 15 of their 41 power play opportunities, which is a 36.6 percent success rate. Toronto has given up 12 goals on 49 power play’s against, which is a 75.5 percent penalty kill. The Maple Leafs will look to improve on the penalty kill in this one.
Montreal has been solid on both sides of special teams to this point in the season. The Canadiens have been able to pot 10 goals on 45 power play chances, which is a 22.2 percent power play. Montreal has killed off 43 of their opponents 54 power play attempts, which is a 79.6 percent kill rate. The Canadiens will need that penalty kill to come through stronger in this one.
These two teams have been strong to open up the new season on the power play. The Maple Leafs have the better power play coming into this one, but Montreal’s penalty kill has been better. The Canadiens will need to neutralize Toronto’s lethal power play if they want a chance in this one. Montreal will look to add some power play goals as well as they look to keep up with the Maple Leafs offense.
I expect Frederik Andersen to get the nod in the crease for the Maple Leafs in this one. Andersen has started in 11 games this season, grabbing a record of 8-2-1. He has earned a .904 save percentage and a GAA of 2.65 through his starts. Andersen’s last start was against the Vancouver Canucks, where he stopped 31 of 32 shots in the win.
Carey Price will likely get the start between the pipes for Montreal on Wednesday night. Price has put up a record of 4-1-2 through his seven starts this season. He has posted a save percentage of .899 and a 2.81 GAA in those games. Price finished with 19 saves on 22 shots in his last start against the Ottawa Senators, which was not enough for the win.
These two goalies have had solid starts to the new season, but it has been Andersen who has had the better stats. Andersen has started Toronto’s last six games, including the three in a row against the Vancouver Canucks. The Maple Leafs will continue to lean on Andersen as Jack Campbell is out. Price’s numbers have not been great this season, but he will look to bounce back in this one.
Toronto was able to come from behind in the season opener against the Canadiens, but Montreal has looked strong so far this season. The Canadiens will look to get some revenge in this one as they are at home. The Maple Leafs have hit a nice streak as of late and will look to build off their sweep of Vancouver. Montreal has had a little extra rest though, which I think will propel them to the win.
BetOnline has the Canadiens listed as a -107 against the money line in this one. This gives a slight edge to Montreal at home. I agree with this line as the Canadiens have been solid throughout the early part of this season. Montreal will look to bounce back after losing the season opener to the Maple Leafs with a win on Wednesday night.