Wednesday night will see two of the North division’s top teams go head-to-head in the resumption of hockey’s historic Leafs vs. Canadiens rivalry.
While the Leafs sit clearly atop the North division, many feel that Montreal’s statistics and lineup match up nicely with Toronto’s, and Wednesday marks yet another chance for the pesky Habs to show their mettle in a potential round one preview.
Montreal stormed a late comeback on Monday evening, defeating Edmonton 3-2 in overtime off of a Eric Staal tally. The new addition looked comfortable in his new setting, and added a ton of defensive stability to Montreal’s bottom-six group.
For the Leafs, they’ll be returning home from a western swing off short rest – a trip that ended up being quite successful. Toronto won all four contests against Calgary and Winnipeg, and though they lacked the dominance some fans and experts still crave – the Leafs won tight, defensive affairs, a style of play needed for the post-season.
Wednesday night should be another tightly contested matchup between the forever rivals. Montreal will be battling some injuries, but are no doubt keen to prove they’re at least on equal footing with their Toronto foes. For further analysis and a betting prediction for this big-time showdown, continue reading on beneath the posted odds for this crucial Toronto/Montreal match-up.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Betting Odds:
Montreal Canadiens (+135)
@ Toronto Maple Leafs (-155)
Over 6 (-120)
Under 6 (+100)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Pick:
Despite Montreal missing some key pieces, the thinking here is that the pesky Habs represent immense value on Wednesday evening as sizeable underdogs.
Montreal will be without Brendan Gallagher, Joel Armia, and Ben Chiarot – though GM Marc Bergevin has built impressive depth for the Habs, and fresh and speedy legs are what comprises this impressive Montreal lineup.
The Habs thoroughly outplayed Edmonton on Monday night, and following a brief COVID scare from a few weeks back – Montreal is showing signs once again that make them such a force within the North division. They roll four impressive lines, all of whom possess excellent speed and chance-generating abilities. In goal, it’ll be Jake Allen to relieve Carey Price – though Allen as well has been arguably better than Price in recent outings.
Toronto meanwhile has also been rolling, but this is admittedly a very tough schedule spot for the Buds, coming back from a week out west. They grinded out a gruelling victory late Monday evening against Calgary, getting back to Toronto late Tuesday afternoon. Now, the Buds will be tasked to turn around on very short rest after lengthy travel, to take on a waiting and hungry Montreal squad. Expect some sleepy and tired Toronto legs tonight.
There’s also the issue of the starting goalie. Jack Campbell has been elite in net and likely due for some sort of regression – though there’s a solid chance that Montreal actually sees third-stringer Michael Hutchinson between the pipes on Wednesday evening. Toronto has been careful not to overwork Campbell following previous starts, and following a long day of travel – look for the Leafs to go with a surprise Hutchinson start.
Hutchinson is nowhere near the level of Campbell, and is very clearly a below-average goaltender. The Habs are a skilled group that often control shot attempts and possession, and against a tired Leafs’ group Montreal should be able to take full advantage both off the rush and cycle.
This match-up will be pretty meaningful to a Montreal squad that likely feels they’re every bit as talented as the Leafs. Toronto enters tired and perhaps a tad too comfortable atop the division. With Montreal’s underlying metrics mirroring that of Toronto’s – the Habs at a big underdog price represent excellent value Wednesday evening.