Red-hot Matthews leads Leafs to clash with relegation Canadiens on Hockey Day in Canada: Leafs tailgate

Red-hot Matthews leads Leafs to clash with relegation Canadiens on Hockey Day in Canada: Leafs tailgate

One of the storied rivalries in NHL history is set to write another chapter on Hockey Day in Canada.

For the first time since the season opener, the Leafs (28-11-7) and Canadiens (19-24-3) meet tonight at the Bell Center in the second of four meetings this season. Back on October 12m, Burlington native Josh Anderson scored the game-winner with 19 seconds remaining to give the Canadiens a 4-3 win. Through 2021–22, Montreal has taken three of the past four meetings with Toronto. And of course, we all vividly remember what happened in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Meanwhile, Toronto is coming off back-to-back wins—a 5-4 OT thriller vs. Florida on Tuesday and a 4-1 drubbing of the Jets on Thursday. The Habs have won five of seven after dropping seven in a row. That said, not only were they thoroughly demolished 6-2 by the Panthers on Thursday night, but Montreal announced today that sniper Cole Caufield is done for the season with a shoulder problem. Injuries continue to pile up on Martin’s St. Louis squad.

Incredibly, considering how both teams started the season, the Leafs (63) lead the Atlantic Division standings by 22 points heading into tonight’s matchup, overhauling the Canadiens (41). On paper, it’s a complete mis-match, we’ll see how it plays out.

Time: 7 PM ET (CBC, SNO)

Starting Goal:

TOR Ilya Samsonov – Confirmed (14-4-1, 2.18, 0.920, 2 SO)

@

MTL Samuel Montembelt – Confirmed (9-8-2, 3.21, 0.909, 0 SO)

Projected Lineup:

Three stories:

Hockey Day in Canada

Can anything be better than that? All seven Canadian teams will take to the ice today starting with the Flames as they host Tampa at 3pm Eastern. Additionally, for my money, the Leafs and Habs are the most storied and rich rivalry in NHL history. It’s a classic. The best thing about these two franchises is that their fanbases are absolutely in spite of each other. I don’t know, there’s something about the Leafs and Canadiens squaring off on Saturday night. I have the juices flowing like a Bears League puck game on Sunday afternoon.

Don’t play to your opponent

Simply put, this is not the Canadian team the Leafs saw opening night. It’s nowhere near. Adding to Montreal’s injury woes, earlier today, they announced that Cole Caufield required shoulder surgery and was done for the season. Can you say Connor Bedard without saying Connor Bedard? However, what I’m getting at is that healthy Habs team or not, Toronto is the best squad. I want to see them flex their muscles tonight and beat their original six opponents. That said, if history tells us anything, it’s that no matter what’s going on or who’s playing or playing, these two teams always seem to come up for each other.

Papi is starting to cook

Don’t look now but Auston Matthews is starting to get hot. Interrupted by a mini two-game hiatus, the 25-year-old’s seven goals and 11 points topped a personal eight-game point streak. Additionally, Matthews has five goals in a four-game goal streak. Any way you slice it, the reigning Hart Trophy and Rocket Richard winner is playing his best hockey of the season right now. As I said in my musings Thursday night, he has been incredible in three outings since missing back-to-back games. Load management or not, she looks rejuvenated and refreshed. In 28 regular season contests against Montreal, Matthews scored 22 goals. Be careful.

bet:

(until noon EDT)

Prop Play:

Auston Matthews anytime goal + William Nylander shot prop

Bonus:

With the NHL trade deadline just six weeks away, things are starting to unravel around the league. NHL Insider Frank Serravalli joins yours truly on Friday’s edition of Leafs Morning Tech. Listen here.

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