An old rivalry meets under new conditions Wednesday as the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Montreal Canadians in NHL opening-day action.
Toronto and Montreal will get to know each other well this year, as they’ll face off 10 times in the 56-game schedule as part of the NHL’s new division alignment. The Leafs and Habs make up two of the seven teams in the new all-Canadian North Division.
Oddsmakers have Toronto as -141 home favorites with a total of 6 shaded heavily to Over at -132.
Here are our free picks and predictions for Montreal Canadiens vs Toronto Maple Leafs for Wednesday, January 13 (7:00 p.m. EST).
Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs Betting Preview
Canadiens: No key injuries to report.
Maple Leafs: No key injuries to report.
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Betting Trend to Know
The Over is 5-1 across the last six meetings. Find more NHL betting trends for Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs are the heavy favorite to win the North Division at +120, but as Leafs fans know: expectations and results are very different things.
The forward additions will help complement the Maple Leafs’ scoring talent and make them less reliable on top-six scoring. But with potentially four entirely new lines heading into the season’s first game, some chemistry issues could pop up.
The Leafs’ blueline will also need some time to gel, as two of the three pairings will have never played together outside of team scrimmages.
Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen, entering a contract year, has been a notoriously slow starter and did not face Montreal last year. The Habs swept the season series a year ago 3-0 and outscored the Leafs 13-8, including a pair of overtime wins.
Montreal goalie Carey Price has posted good-to-great results versus Toronto over his career and owns a 26-15-4 record with a .917 save percentage. Price beat the Buds in all three tries last year and allowed two goals or less in two of those games.
Montreal beefed up in the offseason with the additions of Josh Anderson and Joel Edmundson. The Canadiens' mix of speed and the newly-added muscle could go a long way in keeping the Leafs from controlling the puck, something Toronto's previous style was dependent on.
The Leafs are generally one of the most overvalued teams in the league and are the NHL’s version of the Yankee Tax.
It’s the first day of NHL hockey and we’re already looking for plus-money winners. If you’re thinking of jumping on Montreal, it wouldn’t surprise us if the Canadiens had better odds at puck drop.
PREDICTION: Montreal (+125)
The Habs and Leafs have played some tight games over the past couple of seasons, as five of the last seven meetings have gone to extra time with the Over going 5-2. When dealing with NHL Overs, it’s imperative both teams contribute to the scoring, especially with totals of six or higher.
As mentioned above, both clubs will be putting together new lines and we’re expecting some defensive miscues on both ends with such little repetition between players. The Leafs had an abbreviated camp that didn’t feature any exhibition games and only had half the usual amount of players. This could be a sloppy game with blown defensive coverages everywhere.
Over the last two seasons — a stretch of seven games — the Leafs and Habs have produced just two games with less than seven combined goals, and three of those matches had nine or more total goals.
The Leafs can bury the biscuit and the Canadians have shown a knack for running it up against their rivals. We hope you didn’t expect us to take an Under on the first day of hockey.
PREDICTION: Over 6 (-132)
Canadiens vs Maple Leafs Betting Card
- Montreal (+125)
- Over 6 (-132)
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