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Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will look to continue his league-best goal scoring pace in round one.

One of the oldest rivalries in sports hasn’t seen a playoff matchup in 42 years – and the Toronto Maple Leafs would love to make their historic first-round series with Montreal a short one. The Leafs (35-14-7 SU, 24-28-4 O/U) host the Canadiens (24-21-11 SU, 24-29-3) as not only an overwhelming favorite to win the series, but one of the top plays to win the Stanley Cup.

Montreal Canadiens vs Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Date/Time: May 20, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Scotiabank Arena
  • TV Coverage: CBC
  • Opening Odds: Maple Leafs -222 | O/U 5.5 (Line History)
  • Maple Leafs vs Canadiens Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The Maple Leafs opened as a whopping -222 favorite – and that was simply too high for the betting public, which has moved the number into the -195 to -200 range at most sportsbooks. The total is set at 5.5, with the OVER at -115 and the UNDER at -105.

Montreal News & Notes

The Canadiens entered the postseason with a resounding thud, losing their final five games of the regular season (including a pair of defeats to the rival Leafs). And it is fitting that they dropped each of their last three decisions by one goal – the Canadiens boasted a dismal .375 winning percentage in one-goal games this season, the worst rate of any team to reach the playoffs.

With Toronto’s high-flying offense expected to make things difficult for the Canadiens’ back end, look for Montreal to lean heavily on the veteran savvy of goaltender Carey Price, who will play in Game 1. Price has been out for more than a month after suffering a concussion but had a successful conditioning stint in the American Hockey League and has been given the green light for Thursday.

Toronto News & Notes

It hasn’t really mattered who has been in goal when facing the Maple Leafs, who enter the postseason having averaged the sixth-most goals per game during the regular season (3.32). Even more impressively, Toronto boasted the eighth-best goals-against average in the NHL (2.64), an area that has traditionally been a struggle for the perennial postseason disappointments.

All eyes will be on Rocket Richard Trophy winner Auston Matthews, who potted 41 goals in just 53 games for his second major individual trophy following a Calder triumph in 2017. He had seven goals and seven assists in 10 games against Montreal during the regular season, and is a terrific player prop option if you’re looking for a player to score in this one.

Betting Pick: Maple Leafs (-195)

Toronto is the superior team and has been playing like it all season long. Look for Matthews and the Maple Leafs to make a statement in Game 1.

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Shark Bites
  • The Leafs are 8-2 in their last 10 vs Montreal at home.
  • Toronto is 7-3 in its last 10 games.
  • The UNDER is 6-3 in the last 9 games between these teams.
TOR is 8-2 in its last 10 home games vs MTL.home TOR is 7-3 in its last 10 games.home The UNDER is 6-3 in the last 9 meetings.