The Montreal Canadiens will travel to the Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday evening to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs to open up the 2021 regular season. The Canadiens finished with a 31-31-9 record (71 points) to just get to the NHL Bubble and ended up upsetting the Pittsburgh Penguins in a best-of-five series to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They ended up losing 4-2 in the Conference Quarterfinals against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Maple Leafs went 36-25-9 (81 points) to also reach the Qualifying Round where they lost a best-of-five series to the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2. Due to COVID-19, the divisions have been shaken up and both these teams will compete in the North division as teams only play divisional games.
Both teams will want to do better as they will face off 10 times this season. It’ll be an interesting season but let’s take a deeper dive into both Montreal and Toronto to figure out where we should feel the most comfortable placing our wagers.
TT Needs to Play WellLeft wing Tomas Tatar led the Montreal Canadiens on the offensive side of the ice last season as he finished his second year with the team with 68 games, 22 goals, 39 assists,and 61 points. It was a career-high in assists and points for the veteran, which really helped the offense get going last year. In three games last year against the Maple Leafs, Tatar finished with just two assists. If he can be more of a scoring threat with the puck, it’ll help the Montreal offense get going.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were giving up a good amount of goals last season as they gave up 3.17 goals per game, which ranked tied for 25th in the league. In their three games against each other last year, the Maple Leafs allowed 13 goals (4.33 per game) on 110 shots (36.7 per game) and failed to pick up a victory in any of the games. They will need to improve their defensive sets if they want to open the year with a win.
Can Matthews Improve?The Toronto Maple Leafs have a lot of talent on their roster but center Auston Matthews runs the show for the team. Last season was his best year as he played 70 games and finished with a career-highs in goals, points, power play points, and face-off percentage. He had 47 goals, 33 assists, and 80 points. In three games last year against the Canadiens, Matthews played three games and finished with two goals and an assist. If he can finish with over a point per game against Montreal this season, it’ll be a great way for the Maple Leafs to get going.
The Montreal Canadiens were an average team on defense last year as they gave up 3.10 goals per game, which ranked 19th in the NHL. In their three games against one another last season, the Canadiens allowed eight goals (2.67 per game) on 91 shots (30.3 per game) and walked away with all three wins. If they can limit the Maple Leafs to similar numbers, they will definitely remain in the driver’s seat of the series.
Found on Covers.com
- Toronto: 4-1 in their last 5 games vs Atlantic
- Toronto: 4-1 in their last 5 meetings in Toronto
- Montreal: 8-17 in their last 25 Wednesday games
- Montreal: 1-4 in their last 5 games vs Atlantic