The Montreal Canadiens (0-0-0) will be in Toronto on Wednesday night to open their season against the Maple Leafs (0-0-0) at the Scotiabank Arena. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. The teams met three times during the preseason, with the Leafs winning the first two matchups.
Goaltender Jake Allen will start for the Habs, with Samuel Montembeault acting as his backup. Montembeault is expected to be given the start on Saturday when the Canadiens face Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bell Centre.
The Canadiens did not practice on Wednesday, though we have a pretty good idea of the lines that will be used by head coach Martin St-Louis thanks to the setup used at practice on Tuesday.
Power forward Josh Anderson played on the top line alongside Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, whereas Juraj Slafkovsky was once again used with Kirby Dach, who did a great job improving Slafkovsky’s underlying numbers throughout the preseason.
Of course, we have to take preseason production with a grain of salt, but it’s worth mentioning that Slafkovsky was one of the most productive players in the lineup.
Sean Monahan will anchor the third line, with the hope that his skill in transition will help both Tanner Pearson and Brendan Gallagher find their rhythm early in the season.
The fourth line may have a little more talent than usual, as both Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Jesse Ylonen practiced with Jake Evans, however, there’s also a possibility that Michael Pezzetta will be given the final spot in the lineup.
St-Louis is expected to speak to the media prior to the start of the game to confirm all the roster details.
On defence, veterans Mike Matheson and David Savard were paired together, which means sophomore Kaiden Guhle featured on the second pairing with Johnathan Kovacevic. Jordan Harris and Justin Barron formed the third pairing, but we can expect Arber Xhekaj, who was sent to the Laval Rocket for roster compliance reasons, will take Barron’s place.
Toronto Maple Leafs
As for the Maple Leafs, they’ll be icing a rather strong roster, as is tradition.
Newcomer Tyler Bertuzzi will feature on the top line with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, whereas former Hab Max Domi will be taking his usual two penalties per game while playing with John Tavares and William Nylander.
John Klingberg was listed as day-to-day during the preseason, but he’s expected to suit up against the Habs.
Ilya Samsonov will get the start for the Maple Leafs.
Montreal Canadiens Injuries
- Christian Dvorak (week-to-week)
- Carey Price (IR)
- Chris Wideman (IR)
New York Islanders Injuries
- Connor Timmins (IR)
- Matt Muray (IR)
Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup
|Alex Newhook||Nick Suzuki||Brendan Gallagher|
|Cole Caufield||Christian Dvorak||Juraj Slafkovsky|
|Josh Anderson||Sean Monahan||Tanner Pearson|
|Joel Armia||Jake Evans||Jesse Ylonen|
|Mike Matheson||Justin Barron|
|Kaiden Guhle||Gustav Lindstrom|
|Jayden Struble||Johnathan Kovacevic|
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lineup
Bertuzzi – Matthews – Marner
Domi – Tavares – Nylander
Knies – Minten – Jarnkrok
Gregor – Kampf – Reaves
Rielly – Brodie
McCabe – Klingberg
Giordano – Liljegren