The last time these two teams met, the Canadiens celebrated ending the Maple Leafs’ season.
On May 31, the two Original Six squads faced off in a winner-take-all Game 7 that saw Montreal complete the comeback of a 3-1 series deficit with a 3-1 win. A season of “All or Nothing” was nothing for the Leafs, whose Stanley Cup drought of 54 years marched on with the defeat.
But now the calendar has flipped to October. Both teams have seen changes since then, and both teams will be without key guys. Canadiens captain Shea Weber will not play this season, and his career may be over. Carey Price is out for the next month after entering the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. Joe Thornton left the Leafs for sunny Florida, and Zach Hyman headed west to snowy Edmonton.
Auston Matthews, the 2021 Rocket Richard Trophy winner, is out for this one — and the next two after that — as he continues to recover from offseason wrist surgery.
Mitchell Marner was a game-time decision, but did skate in warmups. He’ll play on a line with captain John Tavares (playing his first non-preseason game since leaving Game 1 vs. the Canadiens after getting kneed in the face) and newcomer Nick Ritchie. Jack Campbell, who was in tears back in May in the locker room and when speaking to the media, will get the start.
NHL 2021-22: How to watch games | Opening games schedule
The Canadiens will feature their young stars, including Calder Trophy candidate Cole Caufield and centerman Nick Suzuki, who just got a snazzy eight-year, $63 million extension. The energetic duo will be joined by Tyler Toffoli on the wing. Jonathan Drouin will slot back in after taking time off late last season (missed the postseason, too) to deal with anxiety and insomnia. With Price out, Jake Allen will get the nod between the pipes.
Sporting News will provide live updates and highlights as the Canadiens and Maple Leafs face off (all times Eastern):
Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs live scores, highlights
7:20 p.m. — After pregame festivities, including the fans singing the national anthem, game on.
6:50 p.m. — Lines are here for the Leafs.
NHL 2021-22: Latest news
What channel is Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs on?
Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET with a pregame show hosted by Caroline Cameron alongside analysts Kevin Bieksa, Cassie Campbell-Pascall and Elliotte Friedman. Chris Cuthbert will have the call with Craig Simpson serving as the analyst and Kyle Bukauskas as the reporter.
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