Montreal Canadiens: Habs take on the Leafs at the Bell Centre

Montreal Canadiens will face the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday night at the Bell Centre.

The Habs and Leafs are set for a midweek showdown at the Bell Centre. This will be the second game of the ten-game season series between the two clubs, with Toronto taking the first meeting 5-4 in overtime.

When asked about the storied rivalry between the two franchises, Canadiens’ forward Josh Anderson was looking forward to the matchup ” It’s exciting, growing up as a kid you love watching these games, you get up for these games, and to be experiencing it now it’s very exciting. I think everybody will be getting up for tomorrow night’s game.”

Toronto comes into Wednesday’s game leading the North division with a 10-2-1 record and 21 points. Montreal is hot on their heals with a 8-2-2 record and 18 points.

Leafs’ forward Auston Matthews is sitting atop the league for goals scored with 11, while Canadiens’ forwards Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson have collected 9 and 8 respectively.

Jeff Petry will look to continue his torrid start to the season, which has the Habs’ blueliner leading the team in points, with 14 in 12 games played. Petry’s hot start has him as an early candidate for the Norris trophy.

The Canadiens’ penalty kill will be on high alert, as Toronto’s powerplay has been potent to start the season. They rank 3rd in the league, producing at a 36.6% clip. This is due to an overloaded first unit, with the likes of Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and Morgan Reilly. Keeping that unit off of the ice will be a key to success for Montreal.

Carey Price will be well rested for Wednesday’s game as he has been part of a 60/40 split with Jake Allen to begin the season. This is in part to Allen playing very well, collecting a 4-0-1 record, and saving Price for the more compacted parts of the schedule. A rested Price is a dangerous Price, so expect the Canadien’s goaltender to be on his game.

Montreal will need to be sharp breaking out of their own end, and limit turnovers to Toronto’s high-danger forwards. With the Canadiens’ speed and depth, they should be able to take advantage of Toronto’s bottom two forward lines, and create turnovers with a hard forecheck.

Look for the Habs’ defensemen to jump in on the rush to create an extra passing option. Montreal got away from their rush game against the Ottawa Senators, something that was very effective for them early on in the season. With Toronto playing a North/South style, and not trapping the neutral zone like Ottawa, the Canadiens should be able to back off Toronto’s defensemen with speed and enter the Toronto zone with control.

Hockey fans are in for a highly entertaining game on Wednesday night, and won’t be waiting long for another, as the two teams are set to play again on Saturday night in Toronto.

Puck drop for Wednesday night’s game will be at 7:30 PM ET on Sportsnet and RDS.