|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET20:00 BRT, October 13, 2021
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario Attendance: 18,493
Key absences shadow Canadiens-Leafs season opener
Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs
- The Maple Leafs won seven of the 10 games they played against the Canadiens last season, but Montreal won the series in seven games when the teams met in the first round of the 2021 playoffs. The Maple Leafs led that series, three games to one, but the Canadiens won Games 5 and 6 in overtime and then posted a 3-1 win in Game 7 in Toronto.
- Toronto scored 25 power play goals in its first 24 games last season (in 77 PPOs, 32.5%), but the Leafs scored only six PPGs in 32 games over the rest of season (78 PPOs, 7.7%). The Maple Leafs scored three PPGs in 23 chances (13.0%) in their seven playoff games.
- Nine of Montreal's 13 wins in the 2021 playoffs were by a one-goal margin, including six overtime victories. The Canadiens reached the Stanley Cup Final (losing to Tampa Bay in five games), but they were outscored by three goals in the playoffs (54-51).
- Jake Allen played in 17 of the Canadiens' final 19 games last season (starting 15 of them) but he did not play a second in any of Montreal's 22 games in the 2021 playoffs. Allen was 2- 3-0 with a 2.66 GAA in six games versus the Maple Leafs last season (0-3-0 in Toronto).
- Jack Campbell was 17-3-2 in his 22 games last season. Campbell's .818 points percentage in 2020-21 was the highest among the 47 NHL goaltenders who played 20 or more games. Campbell lost twice to Winnipeg and once to Montreal last season.
- The Maple Leafs were 23-13-2 in the 38 games Auston Matthews missed over his first five NHL seasons (2016-17 through 2020-21). Most of his absences were in 2017-18 (20 games) and 2018-19 (14 games). Matthews missed four of Toronto's 56 games last season.
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The Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs both will be without their top players Wednesday night when they open the NHL regular season in Toronto.
The Canadiens will be without their brilliant goaltender Carey Price, who entered the player assistance program voluntarily and will be absent from the team for at least 30 days.
"You look at him as kind of this Superman and it's really unfair to put that on him just because he's a good hockey player," Canadiens right winger Brendan Gallagher said. "But he does so many things right. He handled every situation he's dealt with in this city, from the outside noise and the performances that he's been able to put on the ice considering what he's been going through. You appreciate it just that much more."
Jake Allen will replace Price as Montreal's starting goaltender, while Jack Campbell will start in goal Wednesday for Toronto.
Toronto will be without center Auston Matthews, who is expected to miss the first three games of the season as he recovers from wrist surgery.
"We're taking it day by day and lots can change, but as of right now this week is probably out of the question," said Matthews, who led the NHL with 41 goals last season despite missing four games with a wrist injury. "But you never know what could happen."
The Maple Leafs are still smarting from their first-round playoff series loss to the Canadiens last season after squandering a 3 games-to-1 lead in the series.
"It was pretty miserable," Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said. "Disappointing. Hard to take. It's going to leave some type of scar given the expectations we created for ourselves. I think for us, it's also somewhat of an opportunity to learn and reflect. Now there's a lot of work ahead of us to get to where we want to get to."
Toronto was the top seed in the North Division while Montreal was No. 4, yet it was the Canadiens who got on a post-season run all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games.
Among the players who are gone from last season's Maple Leafs are goaltender Frederik Andersen (Carolina Hurricanes) and left winger Zach Hyman (Edmonton Oilers).
The Maple Leafs will be without right winger Ilya Mikheyev for a minimum of eight weeks after he suffered a broken thumb that will required surgery in the preseason finale Saturday against the Ottawa Senators.
In another twist, the Maple Leafs lost center Adam Brooks on waivers to the Canadiens on Monday.
With Matthews out, Tavares will be the opening-night center between Nick Ritchie and Mitch Marner; Mikheyev's absence will provide an opportunity for Michael Amadio, who will make his Maple Leafs debut on the fourth line with Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds.
Canadiens defenseman and team captain Shea Weber is out for the season with foot, ankle and knee injuries.
The Canadiens will also open the season without defenseman Joel Edmundson (undisclosed injury) and center Mike Hoffman (lower body injury), who are both expected to return in the next two weeks.
Paul Byron, a key penalty killer, is not expected to return from offseason hip surgery until late December.
Montreal lost center Phillip Danault, one of the better defensive forwards in the league, as a free agent to the Los Angeles Kings. Left winger Tomas Tatar (New Jersey Devils) and center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (Hurricanes) also have departed.
Among the players added by Montreal are defenseman David Savard, left winger Christian Dvorak, Hoffman and goaltender Samuel Montembeault.
The Canadiens announced Tuesday that they have agreed to terms with center Nick Suzuki on an eight-year, $63-million contract extension.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 12, 2021