The Toronto Maple Leafs Will Defeat the Canadiens In Round One

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 7: Corey Perry #94 of the Montreal Canadiens watches an incoming shot against Jake Muzzin #8 and Jack Campbell #36 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on April 7, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 7: Corey Perry #94 of the Montreal Canadiens watches an incoming shot against Jake Muzzin #8 and Jack Campbell #36 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on April 7, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

For the first time in 42 years, the Toronto Maple Leafs will play the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL playoffs. It doesn’t get much more exciting than that.

Both of these teams will be looking to write the next chapter of this rivalry in the record books with their team as the winner. On one side we have the Toronto Maple Leafs, who finished first in the North Division and have the NHL’s top goal scorer in Auston Matthews.

On the other side, we have the Montreal Canadiens who played well enough to secure the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division.

The series begins next Thursday.

Toronto Maple Leafs Have The Better Offense

Both teams have six players with goals in double digits, but it’s the number of goals that separates them. Montreal scored 158 goals in 56 games, and Toronto has scored 184 goals in 55 games with one game remaining on Friday.

Montreal’s top three point producers combined for 127 points this season.

Tyler Toffoli: 28-16-44
Jeff Petry: 12-30-42
Nick Suzuki: 15-26-41

Toronto’s top three combined for 183 points and still have one game remaining.

Mitch Marner: 20-47-67
Auston Matthews: 41-25-66
John Tavares: 19-31-50

The edge in offensive production goes to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto Maple Leafs Have The Better Defense

Although the Canadiens defense has more playoff experience, the Leafs defense had fewer goals against this season as well as more offensive production. Montreal finished the season with 168 goals against, while Toronto has allowed 144 goals against. Toronto still has one game remaining in their season, but they will still finish with fewer goals allowed than Montreal.

Toronto had a slight edge over Montreal in offensive production from their blueline this season. The Maple Leafs defense produced 108 points, and the Canadiens defense produced 97 points.

The Canadiens defense has more experience to draw from, but Toronto was able to score 34 goals against Montreal in 10 games during the regular season.

Toronto gets the slight edge here.

Montreal Canadiens Have The Better Goaltending

Jack Campbell for the Toronto Maple Leafs has had a fantastic season. Although his stats are better than both Jake Allen, and Carey Price this season, both of the Canadiens goaltenders have much more playoff experience.

If Carey Price is healthy, he has proven many times in the past that he can steal a win for the Canadiens. He showed that ability last season when Montreal upset the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The big question is how healthy will Price be? He has been out since April 19th when he suffered a concussion. Even if he does come back to play, will he be 100%? Only Price knows the answer to that.

If Campbell can have the same success in the playoffs that he had during the regular season, then the Leafs are in good hands.

Montreal gets the edge, but only if Price is healthy.

Special Teams Too Close To Call

Toronto’s power play has not been too good lately, but overall they have a slightly better PP% than Montreal. Montreal ended their season with a 19.21 PP% with 29 power-play goals on 151 power-play chances. Toronto scored 31 power-play goals on 153 power-play chances for a 20.26 PP% and still has one game remaining.

Montreal has a very slight lead on the penalty kill with 78.49 PK% compared to Toronto’s 78.32 PK%. Depending on what happens in Toronto’s final game of the regular season on Friday, the Leafs PK% and PP% could change for the better or the worse.

Neither team has much of an advantage here, so I will say it’s a tie.

Toronto Maple Leafs Have More Leadership Experience

The Leafs have more leadership on their team than they know what to do with. Having Joe Thornton, Jason Spezza, Jake Muzzin, Nick Foligno, and Wayne Simmonds leading the way with a combined 418 NHL playoff games played.

Montreal counters withCorey Perry, Shea Weber, Eric Staal, Tyler Toffoli, and Carey Price. Those five have combined for 406 NHL playoff games played. After those five, Montreal’s roster is younger than Toronto’s with more players who have seen little playoff action or none at all.

The leadership edge goes to Toronto, but it is close.

Montreal Canadiens Are The More Physical team

Montreal is leaps and bounds ahead of Toronto in the hitting department. The Canadiens finished the season with 1,585 hits while the Maple Leafs have registered 987 hits with one game remaining.

One of the reason’s the Leafs added Foligno at the trade deadline was to help the team be more physical in the playoffs. He has 22 hits in six games so far with the Leafs and had 109 hits with the Columbus Blue Jackets before being traded.

With Foligno and Simmonds, the Leafs will be more physical in these playoffs than they have in years past. If Zach Bogosian can return from injury then he can be counted on to be a physical force as well.

Overall, it will be a rough series with plenty of hits from both sides, but it should be noted that the team doing the hitting is usually the team without the puck. If Montreal is getting more hits, because Toronto has the puck more often, I’m ok with that.

Physical edge goes to Montreal. (all stats and

Final Thoughts

I think this series will be filled with close games with a few going into overtime. I expect to see a ton of hits, a few fights, and an all-around entertaining series.

Next. The 5 Best Moments of the Leafs 2021 Season. dark

I think the Leafs offense will lead the way and allow Toronto to win the series.

Toronto will win the series 4-2