Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs - 10/1/13
Toronto Maple Leafs (26-17-5) at Montreal Canadiens (29-14-5)
NHL Hockey: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 7:00 pm (Bell Centre)
The Line: Montreal Canadiens / Toronto Maple Leafs --- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens kick off the 2013-14 NHL hockey season as the bitter rivals clash at the Bell Centre in what should be a thrilling contest.
The Maple Leafs head into this season facing something they haven’t seen since the 2005 season which is coming off a playoff appearance and having expectations through the roof that is somewhat attainable this season. Toronto was ousted in heartbreaking fashion in one of the craziest games in recent memory, falling to the Boston Bruins in seven games after holding a commanding lead with five minutes remaining in the contest. The Buds must shake off last season’s disappointment in a hurry as they’re expected by many to do some damage this season in the Eastern Conference and they get a stiff test right out of the gates as they travel to the Bell Centre to square off against an angry Canadiens club. Toronto landed highly touted goaltender Jonathan Bernier, and forwards David Clarkson and David Bolland in the offseason but with Bernier in the midst of a goaltending battle with James Reimer and Clarkson suspended for the first 10 games of the season the new look Leafs could be more of the same in this one which could play into the favour of the Canadiens.
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Spo
Montreal is coming off an ugly first round playoff loss at the hands of the Ottawa Senators who absolutely pasted the Habs as the seven seed in the East leaving Canadiens brass scrambling for answers. Montreal went out and added some much needed scoring depth acquiring Daniel Briere from the Philadelphia Flyers, as well as bringing in some help on the blue line in the form of Douglas Murray, and some grit by signing George Parros. However, it is the core of their team that the Canadiens need to build on as the likes of Carey Price, PK Subban, Brendan Gallagher, and Alex Galchenyuk are another season further along and they should be ready to vault the Canadiens into contention once again in the East. This is going to be a very hostile encounter between two of the league’s most storied franchises and what better way to kick things off than at the Bell Centre in front of what is regarded as one of the league’s loudest and most passionate arenas. While I think Toronto is in a better position overall this season and will finish higher in the standings, I think we see a reversal of fortune from last year as the Habs dropped their season opener in Montreal against Toronto and while both teams are very different I like the situation here for the Canadiens. Carey Price will be auditioning for the starter’s role in February’s Olympics and I think there are a few kinks the Leafs need to sort out before they reach their stride.