Montreal Canadiens vs Toronto Maple Leafs: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, ON., Canada.

When: Saturday, February 23, 7PM EST.

How (TV/Radio): CBC | The Fan 590.

Montreal Canadiens (Away)

Head Coach: Claude Julien {All-Time 615-400-10-138 MON, BOS, NJD}

It’s been a few years (be it from Toronto’s lack of success or Montreal’s in the past decade), but this rivalry seems fresh and exciting again. Elite goaltending and fresh, young rosters go head-to-head and some of the numbers couldn’t be tighter. Heading into this game, the Montreal Canadiens would have to be considered the underdog. But with game changing players such as goaltender Carey Price, Max Domi, Tomas Tatar, and Jonathan Drouin, only a fool would consider the Habs to have no chance.

Currently seated seventh overall in the Eastern conference, and in the first wildcard position, the Canadiens have 71 points on the season and are 5-3-2 in their last ten games. Their road record is over .500 which is a promising sign when going up against one of the more raucous crowds in the NHL. The Canadiens also allow fewer shots on goal than Toronto and shoot more per game than their opponents.

Montreal is also coming in completely healthy, with only Phillip Danault listed as day-to-day, but for personal reasons. There is a very good chance he will be on the ice with the team this Saturday night.

Veteran Carey Price is expected to get the start against Toronto. Price has gone 24-26-5 so far this season with a goals against average of 2.56 and a save percentage of .916. He has three shutouts thus far this year.

Toronto Maple Leafs (Home)

Head Coach: Mike Babcock {All-Time 681-399-19-156 TOR, DET, ANA}

Currently seated in the third-place position in the East, Toronto is only five points ahead of the opposing Habs with 76 points. They are 6-2-2 in their last ten games and like the Canadiens, Toronto will be coming in very healthy, with only Nazem Kadri listed as day-to-day with a concussion. His return for Saturday is less likely than Montreal’s Danault, but is still a possibility.

Statistically, the Leafs have the edge offensively. They rank just above Montreal in goals scored and heavily dominate the numbers for faceoffs won, shooting accuracy, and powerplay. A big key to success for Toronto in this game will come from puck possession – winning the faceoffs and hanging onto the puck. The Leafs rank second in the league for faceoffs won compared to Montreal’s 28th rank.

Goals allowed are almost identical between these teams, but the Leafs do allow more shots on average per game than the Habs. However, the Leafs do take the least amount of penalties in the entire league meaning Montreal’s already horrid powerplay unit (ranked 30th in the league) probably won’t even get a chance to take to the ice.

Frederik Andersen is expected to play between the pipes in this match against the Canadiens. Andersen is 27-12-3 on the season. His goals against average is 2.57 (0.01 higher than Carey Price) and his save percentage is .923. He has one shutout.

The last time these two teams went to battle on February 9, it was the Maple Leafs that came out victorious. The final score was 4-3.

What’s At Stake?

These are two big points for both teams, but it should be expected that the Habs may come out with more gusto. Currently in a wildcard position, it’s clear that the Canadiens would like to continue to rise in the standings and find themselves in a more secure playoff position.

That said, the Leafs can’t start slowing down at this point of the season. They are now 20 points back of the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning so a President’s Trophy win seems unlikely. But the East is always a tight scoring race in the final laps of the season and two points can make or break your post-season chances.

Questions to answer

Can the Canadiens keep their shooting numbers up, continuing to average over 33 shots per game against Toronto?

Will home-ice advantage come into play for the Maple Leafs, who are 17-11-1 at the Scotiabank Arena?

Could we be watching a potential preview of the first-round of this year’s playoffs?

Montreal Canadiens Injury Report

F Phillip Danault – day-to-day (personal).

Toronto Maple Leafs Injury Report

F Nazem Kadri – day-to-day (concussion).

F Nathan Horton – IR (back).

Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs Predictions and Odds

The odds will be updated as they are made available.