Forever rivals Toronto and Montreal will face-off for the fourth time this season in a crucial showdown for North division supremacy.
Though Toronto has won two of the first three encounters vs. Montreal in 2021, the Habs have arguably been the better team in those clashes. The speed and depth of this Montreal side has proven problematic for many squads, Toronto included.
The Leafs sit comfortably in first-place in the North division and know that a regulation win over Montreal would really give them some much-needed separation. That said, the Habs have games in hand on Toronto, and enter the fresher side – having not played in a week, when they beat Toronto last Saturday.
The Leafs will be playing their fourth game in six nights, after rebounding nicely mid-week against the lowly Ottawa Senators. The Toronto attack proved prolific once again, en route to taking five of six points in the Battle of Ontario, despite a 5-1 blown lead on Monday evening.
The Habs enter well-rested and devoid of injuries. Expect Tomas Tatar to re-enter the Montreal lineup after being a healthy scratch last time out. It will be Carey Price in goal for the Habs, going up against Freddie Andersen of the Buds.
It’s always exciting when these long-time historic rivals face-off, and with a division on the line, Saturday evening should prove to be no different. Continue reading on beneath the posted odds for a full betting analysis and prediction for Toronto vs. Montreal on Hockey Night in Canada.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens Betting Odds:
Toronto Maple Leafs (-115)
@ Montreal Canadiens (-105)
Over 6.5 (+100)
Under 6.5 (-120)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens Pick:
It was a tad surprising to watch the betting movement of this contest. Despite Montreal opening as favourites, recent money has come in on the favoured Buds before this big-time showdown. While the Leafs enter with a stellar 13-3-2 record and have secured the best results, you could make the case that it’s Montreal who has played the better hockey thus far.
In three games vs. Toronto thus far, Montreal has controlled the shot clock and the better quality scoring chances. They sit atop the league in many underlying categories, and it’s clear their team depth, speed, and chemistry has worn down defenses of the North division.
For Toronto, while they can score at will and generate offense from very little – they still aren’t a complete team just yet, and have been hampered by poor defensive awareness and regular mistakes. Against Montreal, it’s burned them in the past and it could burn them again on Saturday night from the Bell Centre.
The Leafs have also gotten by with a red-hot power play, but one that has notably cooled off since Wayne Simmonds was injured. They’ve scored just once with the man advantage since his injury nearly three weeks ago, and with fading special teams units, the Leafs aren’t running as hot as their record would indicate.
Montreal should enter the more rested side, having last played a Saturday ago vs. these same Leafs. Toronto meanwhile will be playing their 4th contest in six nights, and with an overworked Freddie Andersen again slated to be between the pipes – the Habs enter with a decisive advantage in the fatigue department.
Look for Montreal bench boss Claude Julien to ensure he has his top-pairing defensemen of Ben Chiarot and Shea Weber out against the red-hot Matthews and Marner line of Toronto. If that tandem can again nullify Toronto’s lethal offensive top-line, it seems unlikely that any other trio can trouble the Habs. A tired squad should receive a dose of reality on Saturday night – side with the underdog Canadiens in the latest installment of this famous rivalry.