Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens will face each other in the NHL 2021/22 preseason opening match. The hosts have enjoyed a good preseason record in the past several years, and they want another successful preparation. The away side played in the Stanley Cup Final last season, and they are looking forward to another good campaign.
In the 2019/20 preseason, the Maple Leafs had a 6-3 record, winning five times in a row. One year earlier, they had one defeat less in the preseason, and the home side is traditionally good in prep matches. On the other hand, the Canadiens recorded five wins and three losses in their 2019/20 preseason. Their form in prep matches is a bit inconsistent, and we’ll see how they will perform this time.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Can they do more in the playoffs?
The Maple Leafs look forward to another successful regular season, and they want to secure a playoff place for the 6th time in a row. In the 2020/21 season, they topped the North Division with 35 wins and 77 points, five more than the Oilers. Toronto was the most efficient team in the division, while their defense also did a great job, allowing the least number of goals. However, the Maple Leafs don’t replicate their good displays in the playoffs, as they were eliminated on the first step for the last five years in a row.
It will be interesting to see how the home side will deal with Zach Hyman’s departure. An excellent left-wing signed for the Oilers, and it is a huge loss for Toronto, as Hyman produced 30+ points four seasons in a row. The home side’s roster in the attack has undergone some big changes, and it seems it is weaker than the last season. On the other hand, their blue line looks stable, as Toronto’s previous year’s defense is complete. This will be the 9th season for Morgan Rielly, and he might get a big pay rise before his current contract expires. The Maple Leafs will compete in the Atlantic Division this season, and we’ll see a heated battle for playoff spots.
Expected Line-Up: Jack Campbell, Morgan Rielly, T.J. Brodie, Nick Ritchie, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner
with best odds
Montreal Canadiens – Will they go far again?
The Canadiens went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, where they lost to the Lightning, winning just one game in the series. They finished the regular season as fourth in the North Division, booking 24 wins and collecting 59 points, four more than the Flames. They were better than their upcoming rivals in the first knockout round, and few thought they might upset Toronto. However, nobody saw the Canadiens heading to the finals, and they eliminated the Jets and the Golden Knights on their way.
Montreal heads to the new season with a few questions, as Jesperi Kotkaniemi is not on the roster anymore. Besides that, the Canadiens’ captain, Shea Weber, suffered a serious injury that might put his career in danger. It will be a tough challenge for the visitors to move without him, and we” see how they will handle that. On the other hand, Montreal had a few good additions to their roster, but moving back to the Atlantic Division will be very challenging for them.
Expected Line-Up: Carey Price, Joel Edmundson, Ben Chiarot, Tyler Toffoli, Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki
Expert Pick #1 – Toronto Maple Leafs ML @-180
The Maple Leafs were stunned by the Canadiens in the playoffs last season, but they want to start building their confidence. Both sides had several changes in their roster this summer, but I believe the hosts should see off their opponents in the first preseason match. Therefore, Toronto to win in the moneylines market is the first pick for this matchup.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 5.5 @-120
It is the first preseason match for both teams, and although Toronto’s attacking blade might not be so sharp this time, we should see an entertaining clash. Therefore, my second bet for this clash is the Over at the odds of -120.
Expert Pick #3 – Toronto Maple Leafs to Win in Regular Time @-118
If you want to boost your odds a bit, you might like this pick. Toronto could continue its preseason winning streak and book their sixth win in a row. Backing the Maple Leafs to win in the regular time seems attractive, and it’s my third tip for this encounter.