NHL Hockey Betting: Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens

NHL Hockey Betting:  Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens&h=235&w=320&zc=1

This is one of the oldest and most storied rivalries in sports and for the first time in several years there’s some enthusiasm on the Maple Leafs’ side. These teams first played each other in 1917 and the roots of this rivalry date back to the beginning of tensions between French and English speaking Canadian citizens. Toronto and Montreal have played each other 803 times with the Habs holding the edge with a record of 393–314–88–8. Montreal also holds a 42–29 record in playoff action. Not surprisingly, the Canadiens have held the upper hand in this series in recent years and have now won the last 10 meetings including the last 5 at the Bell Centre.

There’s plenty of enthusiasm in Toronto as the Leafs’ management is putting together a talented young team led by 2016 first round draft pick Auston Matthews. Matthews didn’t wait long to prove his worth to the team, scoring four goals in his NHL debut. Matthews has scored six goals is now in a four way tie for the goal leadership in the league along with Patrik Laine, Richard Panik and Alex Killorn. The Leafs are still taking their lumps though they’ve been competitive on most nights. They’ll enter play here with a record of 2-2-3.

Enthusiasm alone might not be enough against Montreal which has been the best team in the NHL in the early going. At 7-0-1 and 15 points they’re on top of the league standings and are the only team remaining that hasn’t lost in regulation. The Canadiens are #3 in goals per game (3.83) and have the best scoring defense in the NHL (1.50 goals per game). They’ve got goaltender Carey Price back in full health and improved the team in the offseason picking up Shea Weber from Nashville. Weber has 3 goals with two game winners, 6 assists and leads the league in +/- with a +12.

The Maple Leafs are finally headed in the right direction after several years of struggle and it won’t be long before they’re able to be competitive in this series. It might be premature to expect that at this point. Montreal is still the substantially better team and have started the season in excellent form. They’ll make it 11 in a row here.


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