Maple Leafs vs Canadiens: Free Picks, Odds & Predictions

NHL Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal Canadiens
Toronto vs Montreal, Scotiabank Arena

This is supposed to be Toronto’s season in 2021 without looming in the shadow of Boston and Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division. The Maple Leafs have all the talent to be a dominant team in the all-Canadian division, but now it’s about the mentality. Meanwhile, Montreal showed last season in the playoffs that they were a team to be reckoned with, and that confidence should carry over into this season.

Free Picks

The hockey betting sites in New Jersey put a lot of stock in Toronto’s scoring prowess and not enough into Claude Julien’s defensive system in Montreal. We saw in the postseason last year how well this young team learned and adapted to the defensive structure, and eight of their 10 postseason games featured five goals or fewer. Toronto likes to play in high-scoring games, but Montreal’s strength is on the blue line and in goal. The Canadiens will have a plan for the Maple Leafs’ stars.

UNDER 6 GOALS

Feeding off my previous point, Toronto’s offense was hit or miss in the bubble over the summer. The Maple Leafs were shut out in two of their five games and it ended the regular season last March with four straight games with two or fewer goals. There is no doubt that the Maple Leafs have a lot of offensive talent, but will it be enough to stump Carey Price? In 45 career games against Toronto, the Canadiens goalie has a .917 save percentage and 2.62 goals against average.

TORONTO SCORES UNDER 2.5 GOALS

As you could probably guess from my previous two NHL predictions, I think Montreal has an excellent chance to win this game. The Canadiens are much better offensively than they were last season and the development of those young players last summer in the bubble was critical to this team taking the next step. Toronto still hasn’t solved its issues in goal or on defense, and Montreal will be able to do what it did so well against Pittsburgh in the opening round to smother Toronto in the season-opener.

MONTREAL CANADIENS TO WIN IN REGULATION

Best Odds

Toronto Montreal
888Sport
-132 +110
Sugar House
-132 +110
FanDuel
-140 +115
Borgata
-145 +120
BetMGM
-145 +120
Caesars
-140 +120

Statistics

Head to Head

This is the first of 10 meetings this season between the two teams thanks to the new divisional alignments for this season.

Stats

  • Montreal swept the season series last year winning two games in overtime and one in regulation. The two teams have met 747 times in their storied histories with Toronto winning 300 times and Montreal winning 359 times and the teams tying 88 times. The Canadiens are the team Toronto has played most often in its history, and the Maple Leafs will secure that honor this year for Montreal by passing Boston.
  • These two teams are no stranger to opening the season against one another. Montreal and Toronto opened the season with each other every year from 2009-10 through the 2015-16 season with the Maple Leads winning four of those games.
  • This is the first game of a six-game road trip to open the season for Montreal. The Canadiens haven’t started a season at home since 2013-14, and have visited Toronto three times in that span, and hold a 2-0-1 record in those three games.
  • Toronto has won three straight season openers and will open at home for the third straight season.

Our Prediction for Toronto vs Montreal

Montreal Canadiens to win

Call me crazy, but Montreal showed me quite a bit with its gutsy performance in the postseason last year. Carey Price is still an elite goalie and there is enough scoring with a young, talented group of forwards. Toronto has all the pressure on them with the star power, but the lack of defense will cost the Maple Leafs.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

All Reviews by Josh Walfish

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