Shawn McKenzie & Chris Johnston plays a major rivalry game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens

The king of the north debate is sure to not go away entirely after this highly anticipated home-and-home series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday and Saturday

That Canada’s two most historic hockey fan bases could see fireworks in this consecutive primetime – and perhaps clarity as to who the best team in the country are – is reason enough to get involved in television

That for the first time in a long time the buds and habs are relevant at the same time is the big problem

“With the Habs and a good start that’s two excited fan bases We know it’s exciting for us as players too. It’s special rivalries that we may not have seen much of in recent years,” says Jason Spezza

“We have a chance to revive this fan base and rivalry as a player, this is a great opportunity”

It would be dangerous to read too much into the only time these two division title contenders crossed paths on a dizzying, late opening night with no preseason

We wish you were there to see all of this pent-up hockey explode into a spirited, if sloppy, affair on The 13th January offered one of those doozies to remind you that we’re in the entertainment business

The Canadians looked more organized and more balanced The Maple Leafs grabbed the extra point thanks to Morgan Rielly’s 5-4 overtime dagger

“We were the better team out there,” GTA-born Canadian Josh Anderson claimed more than once after the game

Since that night, the question of whether Kyle Dubas or Marc Bergevin built the better squad has kept our strongly regionalized hockey discussions busy

A quarter of the way through this abbreviated 2021 campaign is already forming a rift between Leafs and Canadiens (and Jets) and the rest of the pack

Is there anything to be learned by comparing Toronto’s three-game demoralization with the Canucks and the Habs two-game demoralization with the Canucks?

Steel Sharpens Steel Players themselves would surely love to use this Montreal-Toronto set to measure how good they really are. Right?

“You won’t like that answer, but I really might be less interested in what the Leafs are doing,” said Brendan Gallagher of Montreal. “They are a very good team, they have their own storyline to follow

“For us it’s all about playing our game. Obviously we were disappointed that we lost the first game to them. Now is a chance to get a little revenge on that aspect”

Toronto will roll into the Bell Center with two more wins and three more points, but Montreal has a game in hand and a superior goal differential (17)

“Montreal is near the top of the league in a lot of advanced stats,” noted Justin Holl

Both teams have scored exactly 48 goals, but both are the only teams to have lost a game against the Ottawa Senators

One leads the league on power play goals (Toronto, 15), the other on shorthanded strikes (Montreal, seven)

One has the best striker in the league (Auston Matthews, 11), the other has the best defender (Jeff Petry, six)

The Canadians fire more pucks (345 shots per game, peaks in the NHL), but the Leafs shoot more accurately (124 percent)

Toronto is investing a league high of $ 405 million of its cap in four groundbreaking strikers, and all of them are producing

Montreal invests a league high of $ 14 Carey Price and Jake Allen have a division best save 914 percent

Still, both teams have relied on their depth to succeed. Toronto has 23 players with at least one point and 14 with a goal Montreal can dress 19 with a point and 16 with a goal

The Maple Leafs and Canadiens are the class of the Canadian division, just as the old Atlantic Division is the class of the league after defending Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay strangled Central and Presidents’ Trophy champion Boston led the east the Atlantic Clubs now lead all three divisions in which they were spread

How is that? Five of the six best teams in the NHL belonged to the Atlantic

The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t played a playoff series since 1979, the year Joe Thornton was born

All it took was a global pandemic and unprecedented emergency reorientation to pit them against each other ten times (at least) in meaningful games

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Leafs

World News – CA – Leafs, Canadiens turn to emotional miniseries to meet the best of North

Source: https://www.sportsnet.ca/nhl/article/maple-leafs-canadiens-set-emotional-miniseries-meeting-norths-best/