Wednesday Night NHL Season Opener: Is Toronto a Lock vs. Montreal?

NHL Oct 11, 2022

Leafs-Habs Open 2022-23 NHL Regular Season

Canada looks absolutely stacked heading into the 2022-23 regular season. Canadian teams occupy 3 of the top 7 spots on the early NHL power rankings -- with Toronto (2nd), Edmonton (6th), and Calgary (7th).

But Wednesday night's opening faceoff between the Maple Leafs and Canadiens appears to be a total mismatch since the Habs rank near the bottom in expectations while the Leafs are the top pick to win the Eastern Conference (5.00 to win the East, which means 4-to11 odds).

However, whenever Toronto takes to the ice against Montreal, just about anything's possible. The Leafs are a sizable favourite (1.38 at Spreads.ca) against the upset-minded Canadiens (3.10), even though Montreal is playing at home. The trouble for the Habs is, they're coming off a dreadful season following the Cinderella Stanley Cup appearance in 2020, and failed to improve much during the offseason. That puts all the pressure on Toronto, which has enjoyed impressive regular season results in recent years before melting down in the first round of the playoffs. Look for a playoff atmosphere at Centre Bell in Montreal with Habs' fans cheering for a major upset.

The puck drops in Montreal at 7:00 pm ET.

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Prediction (powered by Pointspreads.ca):

Naturally, Toronto should be the favourite, and probably by a sizable margin. However, with so many unknowns this early in the season, might there be some value in betting on the Canadiens?

We think so.

Montreal is at home where they won only 11 games all of last season. But this is an opportunity to hit the reset button and struggling teams sometimes rise to the occasion. There's added uncertainty with Matt Murray in goal starting his first game for the Leafs, who was acquired from the Senators in the offseason. Murray enjoyed a terrific preseason, but now the games will count. We see the Habs finishing in the basement of a very competitive Atlantic Division. However, they should bring 100 percent for the home season opener and we like the better than 2-to-1 odds with the dog.

Our money is on Montreal at this generous price.

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