A hot Canadian matchup, featuring two Original Six franchises, takes to the ice in the Bell Centre in Montreal tonight. The Montreal Canadiens face the Toronto Maple Leafs on home ice for an exciting matchup. Whenever these two teams play, it’s one of my favorite matchups to catch on TV. No matter how good or bad these two teams are, the on ice product is always great.
The Canadiens look to make some strides this season, after winning the draft lottery and selecting Juraj Slafkovsky first overall. Montreal had a tumultuous season last year, but under the current guidance of Martin St. Louis, this young Canadiens roster looks to keep improving. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs made a statement this offseason and are looking to go big or go home. A historic season for them last year, with a Rocket Richard winning season for Auston Matthews, led to them being one of the top seeds in the Atlantic. But once again, they were bounced in a close matchup in the first round. Last season, the two teams split their matchups against each other, going 2-2. 21 goals were scored between the two teams, with Montreal outsourcing Toronto 12-9 head-to-head. Each team with something to prove, these Canadian franchises will not disappoint tonight.
Players To Watch:
For the Canadiens, Juraj Slafkosvky will be the player to watch. The first overall pick landed a roster spot on the NHL roster. A powerful yet skilled winger, Slafkosvky adds nice depth to the wing situation in Montreal. I’m excited to see how his skill from the TPS translates over to the NHL for the first time during the regular season. Although Slafkovsky has a high ceiling, his current on ice impact will not be as high as many anticipate. He still has a lot to get adjusted to, but hopefully, we see the rookie perform well tonight.
For the Maple Leafs, John Tavares will be the player to watch. Tavares will most likely be on the roster tonight after suffering an oblique injury back in mid-September. Tavares is a key cog to the well-oiled machine of the Leafs offense. His on-ice leadership accompanied with his play making make him an important part of their roster. Hopefully, he feels like he’s at 100% so we can get a good showing of his talents tonight. Even though he is the oldest of the Big Four in Toronto, he still turns heads with his highlight worthy scoring ability.
A fun matchup that will be closer than people think. The Canadiens roster is much weaker than the Maple Leafs, but even last season the Canadiens upset them twice. I anticipate the Maple Leafs to beat the Canadiens 4-3 in Overtime.