Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens - 10/8/14
Montreal Canadiens (46-28-8) at Toronto Maple Leafs (38-36-8)
NHL Hockey: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 7:00 pm (Air Canada Centre)
The Line: Toronto Maple Leafs +109 / Montreal Canadiens -120 --- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
The NHL season kicks off in style on Wednesday night as the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Montreal Canadiens at the Air Canada Centre.
The Canadiens head into the 2014-15 NHL season looking to build on their impressive trip to the Eastern Conference Finals a season ago and while there have been some changes they have the bulk of their lineup back making the postseason at worst their bottom line expectation. Montreal is still a very young team with the likes of PK Subban, Carey Price, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, and Max Pacioretty anchoring their core but also have a strong veteran presence with Brandon Prust and PA Parenteau added to the mix. It is no secret that Montreal’s success will stem from the crease outward and with Price being one of the game’s top netminders it is certain that the team will go as far as he carries them and if he can stay healthy that should be quite far. However, the departure of Josh Gorges is quite concerning as he was the team’s second best defender next to Subban and while Alexei Emelin and Andrei Markov are still wearing the red, white, and blue I think their defense is a little weak and could be the team’s downfall moving forward.
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The Maple Leafs fell out of playoff contention in dramatic fashion last season as they completely crumbled down the stretch and with some of their key parts making moves there are some pessimists who are laughing at this Leafs roster thinking that the playoffs are a long shot. However, I think this Buds roster is a solid one that should more than challenge for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference as they have a ton of firepower up front and a back end that has its holes but also has a ton of youth and potential. Phil Kessel will always be criticized for not being in shape but he is one of the best scorers in the NHL and with the likes of Joffrey Lupul, James van Riemsdyk and the emerging Nazem Kadri at his side I think Toronto will be one of the higher scoring teams in the NHL this season. The biggest question remains in goal as it is clear that Jonathan Bernier is the number one but the Leafs signed disgruntled backup James Reimer to a contract extension indicating he might be getting more starts than we think or at least play a larger role than he did last year. This is going to be a great game between two bitter rivals and looking at the line I find it very confusing that the Leafs are home dogs to start the season. I know Price is the best player in this game but with Toronto’s firepower, Montreal’s question marks on D and the Leafs being at home I think the price is way too good to pass on.