- The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens faceoff on NHL Opening Night on January 13th, 2021
- The Habs won all three meetings between the two clubs last season
- Read below for the odds, game preview, and betting pick
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens face off in the North Division on NHL Opening Night on January 13th, 2021. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM EST from Scotiabank Arena. Toronto is being listed as -136 favorites.
The Maple Leafs are looking to get their season started on the right note after a disappointing showing against the Blue Jackets in the Return-to-Play, while the Habs are aiming to build off an impressive 2020 playoff performance.
Montreal has dominated this rivalry of late, but both teams made some big moves this offseason that could have an effect on how things shake out Wednesday evening.
Montreal Canadiens vs Toronto Maple Leafs Odds
|Montreal||+1.5 (-230)||+118||O 6.5 (-103)|
|Toronto||-1.5 (+188)||-136||U 6.5 (-118)|
Odds taken January 12 at DraftKings.
Talented Leafs Are Offensive Juggernaut
The Maple Leafs are the favorites to win the North Division in the NHL Division odds after another impressive regular season that saw them go 36-25-9 and finish third in the league in goals scored per game (3.39). Their playoff struggles continued last year, however, as Toronto was eliminated by Columbus in the qualifying round of the Return-to-Play.
The Maple Leafs are being favored in this game because their offense is spectacular. Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares makeup a talented forward core that can single-handedly win the team games on any given night. The team also bolstered their depth by bringing in Joe Thornton, Wayne Simmonds, and Jimmy Vesey this offseason.
Even if the offense plays up to its standards, the team will need a quality performance from goalie Frederik Andersen. He’s the x-factor in this game after a disappointing 2020 campaign that saw his save percentage dip to .909. The Leafs adding the more defensively responsible T.J. Brodie to replace Tyson Barrie could help in that department.
Habs Embrace Underdog Role
Not only are the Canadiens used to being the underdogs, but they also embrace it. Montreal was the final team to qualify for the 2020 Return-to-Play last season, yet they went on to defeat the Penguins in the qualifying round before taking the Flyers to six games in a hard-fought first-round playoff series.
While the Leafs added some nice complementary pieces this offseason, the Habs made one of the biggest moves of the entire offseason when they traded away speedy forward Max Domi to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Josh Anderson. Montreal also landed one of the more sought after free agents in ex-Los Angeles Kings sniper Tyler Toffoli.
Montreal isn’t typically the type of team that wins games by scoring a plethora of goals. They have the best goalie in this game in Carey Price, who has carried the team to countless victories over his 13-year career. Much like the Leafs with Andersen, the Habs will be looking for a rebound year from Price after his numbers took a dip in 2020.
What’s The Best Bet?
Montreal won all three meetings against Toronto last season, but two of those games were decided by one goal and the Leafs didn’t have Andersen for any of them. The Denmark native typically performs very well against the Habs, sporting a 7-3-2 record with a .923 save percentage in his career vs Montreal.
Ring in the New Year with Frederik Andersen’s (@f_andersen30) top 10 saves from last season! 🥳 pic.twitter.com/u7u7oaSJ0V
— NHL (@NHL) January 1, 2021
When it comes to opening night, you have to take the team who is going to want it more. Toronto is finally returning to the ice after another poor playoff showing and are going to want to show that they are serious contenders this season.
The Habs have the goaltending and offense to keep this one close but expect the Leafs’ young stars and Andersen to shine on opening night to lead Toronto to victory.
Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs Moneyline (-136)