The Toronto Maple Leafs head to Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday night to face off against the Montreal Canadiens for the fourth time this season. These two North Division foes continue their ten-game regular-season series, and the Maple Leafs have won two of the previous three contests.
Toronto is topping the North Division at the moment, eight points ahead of second-placed Canadiens. The Maple Leafs opened as slight -109 moneyline favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, while the Habs are listed as -101 dogs to win straight up.
The visitors are coming to Montreal without goalie Jack Campbell and winger Wayne Simmonds, while winger Zach Hyman is listed as questionable. On the other side, the hosts have a clean bill of health.
Toronto smashed Ottawa for its second consecutive victory
The Toronto Maple Leafs (13-3-2) are coming off a three-game home series against the Ottawa Senators. After a shocking 6-5 overtime loss in the opener, the Maple Leafs beat the Sens 2-1 and 7-3 to get back on the right path. Centers Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner put on a show in that four-goal victory, tallying four points each.
Toronto is second in the NHL in goals scored per game (3.72), and the Maple Leafs’ shooting percentage of 12.7 is the second-best in the league, too. They own the best power-play percentage, converting 18 of their 52 power-play opportunities (34.6%).
The Maple Leafs are 11th in goals against (2.67) and tied-14th in penalty-killing percentage (80.0%). Frederik Andersen has a 10-3-2 record with a 2.67 GAA and a .905 save percentage, and he should guard the cage against Montreal after missing the previous game against Ottawa.
Montreal looks for its second straight win over Toronto
The Montreal Canadiens (9-4-2) will take the ice for the first time since last Sunday and a 2-1 road victory over the Maple Leafs. They snapped a two-game skid, overcoming an early deficit thanks to a couple of third-period goals by Tyler Toffoli and Brendan Gallagher. The Habs took a whooping 30 hits more than their rivals (46-16) and committed just one two-minute penalty.
Winger Tyler Toffoli leads the way for the Canadiens with ten goals and five assists through 15 appearances. Montreal is sixth in the league in goals scored per game (3.47) and 12th in shooting percentage (10.2), while the Canadiens scored ten goals on 48 power-play opportunities (16th in the NHL).
The Habs allow 2.53 goals per game (6th). Carey Price owns a 5-2-2 record with a 2.64 GAA and a .901 save percentage, while Jake Allen is 4-2-0 with a 2.01 GAA and a .933 save percentage. Price patrolled the crease in each of the first three encounters with the Maple Leafs this term.
- 2-5 in the last seven games against Montreal
- 11-4 in the last 15 home games against Toronto
This should be a thrilling clash between a couple of very talented teams and legitimate championship contenders. The Maple Leafs possess more offensive weapons than Montreal, but the Canadiens seem like a better defensive team.
Montreal will certainly try to beat Toronto physically once more. The Canadiens had six days to prepare for this game, so I’m backing them to win and put an end to a three-game losing streak on the home ice.
Pick: Take Montreal Canadiens at -101
As I’ve mentioned above, the Maple Leafs are one of the best offensive teams in the league. The Canadiens will have to work hard to slow down Toronto, but that seems like the only way for the hosts to win this game. Montreal desperately needs to keep the Leafs away from central positions or will be in big trouble.
The under is 7-2-2 in Montreal’s last 11 games at home, and it is 3-1 in the previous four encounters between the Canadiens and Maple Leafs.
Pick: Go under 6.5 goals at -115