Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens: Montreal's Steep Odds Makes Capper Lean On the Total

David Lawrence

Saturday, October 24, 2015 6:25 PM GMT

The Montreal Canadiens are off to their best start in franchise history. Can they stay hot when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night?

Momentum
The Canadiens opened the season with eight straight wins for the first time in franchise history after beating the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night. Now they arrive in Toronto looking to get back in the win column. Montreal’s season-opening winning streak began with a 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs but this time they will have home ice advantage when these Original Six rivals meet again.

Meanwhile, Toronto has struggled out of the gate despite looking competitive in all but one of their games. Three of their five losses this season have been by a single goal. The Maple Leafs have looked like a much more complete team under Mike Babcock despite a lack of goal scoring but they will be in tough to bounce back after consecutive losses to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres.

 

Projected Starting Goalies
Jonathan Bernier is expected to be back between the pipes for Toronto despite opening the year with a 0-3-1 record. He has posted a respectable .924 save percentage. Bernier stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced in the season opener against Montreal but he was outplayed by the goaltender at the other end.

Carey Price stopped 36 of the 37 shots he faced in Montreal’s 3-1 win that night and will be back between the pipes for this game after getting the night off on Friday. The reigning Hart and Vezina trophy winner is 6-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and .966 save percentage so far this season and will be tough to beat.

Turn These Hot Bets Into Cold Hard Cash With Today's Top NHL Picks

Outlook
The Canadiens have opened the year on an absolutely torrid pace and there is no reason to think they will slow down against Toronto. Price has been particularly good on home ice where he has allowed just one goal on 85 shots so far including shutout wins over the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues. Both of those teams have much better offensive weapons than the Maple Leafs.

Meanwhile, Toronto is still trying to figure out what they have in this group as they have been a much more competitive group but still lack the talent to consistently win night in and night out. The Maple Leafs have managed to stay in most games with their hard work but they did get blanked in a 4-0 loss at Detroit earlier in the year and this game could have a similar result based on what we know about both teams. Montreal has too much firepower up front for Bernier but the same cannot be said for Toronto versus Price.

The Canadiens are the obvious choice on the side but with the NHL odds at -240 – or in that neighborhood – it’s tough to lay the juice. Instead, we’ll look for an under. They’ve allowed just nine goals in eight games so far while Toronto has scored one goal or less in three of their four road games. Take the under with your NHL picks.

NHL Pick: Under 5 at The Greek

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