The matchup: The Leafs won two of the three pre-season games against the Canadiens with both wins in Toronto, but this is the first real game in the oldest rivalry in the NHL since Montreal shocked Toronto in the first round of the playoffs this year. Toronto took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, but the Canadiens roared back to win in seven games and went on to reach the Stanley Cup final. The Ontario government lifted pandemic restrictions last week and this is the first time both teams will play a regular-season game at full capacity in Canada since the pandemic halted play in March 2020.
The goaltenders: Carey Price spearheaded the comeback in the playoffs, but he won’t be available to play until sometime next month after voluntarily entering the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program last week. Jake Allen will get the start for the Canadiens and he has to be better than he was in his last two pre-season appearances, when he gave up 10 goals over five periods. The Maple Leafs will go with a two-goaltender system after adding Petr Mrazek during the off-season, but late-bloomer Jack Campbell will play in the opener.