Playoff Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal Canadiens

John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)
John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs
Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs (Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports) /


In the playoffs, goaltending is underrated. Someone that can’t handle the pace and pressure will send their team home early.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens both had injury issues surrounding their goaltenders during the regular season. Toronto played four goalies while Montreal played three. Frederik Andersen missed half of the regular season, with Jack Campbell missing many games for the Leafs in February and March. Montreal’s Carey Price missed games in April and May.

Price will likely be the starting goaltender for the Habs. He finished the regular season with a .901 save percentage and a 2.64 goals-against average. Both are very underwhelming for any goalie, never mind for someone who was once the best goaltender in the NHL.

Jake Allen will back him up with his .907 save percentage and 2.68 goals-against average. If both goaltenders fail, then Cayden Primeau will have to rescue the team. Owning a .849 save percentage and 4.16 goals-against average is not encouraging news.

Andersen played poorly with the Leafs, owning a .895 save percentage and 2.96 goals-against average. Both are career-worsts for the longtime Leaf.  Campbell has been a pleasant surprise in relief of Andersen. The longtime backup earned a .921 save percentage and 2.15 goals-against average.

Campbell was confirmed to be the starter for Game 1. It comes to no one’s surprise since the two have had opposite seasons.  Thursday night will be Campbell’s first playoff appearance in his career, while Price played in 70 playoff games. I don’t expect it to be much of an issue for Campbell to transition, but Price’s excellence is concerning.

Montreal’s goaltenders played poorly, and Campbell was the saving grace for Toronto. Then again, Price has not been the same goaltender in the regular season the past couple of years but is always clutch in the playoffs. That is what matters in this matchup.

The chance of something happening to Price is low but not impossible. Luckily Allen has 29 games of playoff experience, accumulating a .924 save percentage. Playoff experience and success is what give Montreal the edge.

Edge: Montreal Canadiens