It has been in the air for weeks. Now Confirmed: The Montreal Canadiens will face the Toronto Maple Leaves in the first round of qualifying.
The Habs team secured their entry into the playoffs last Monday, but are still waiting to find out who their opponent is. Because as of Tuesday evening, the third row of the North Section was still within reach of Montreal residents, which could trigger a duel against the Edmonton Oilers. However, the Winnipeg Jets’ 5-0 win over Vancouver Canucks puts the Manitobans out of reach of the Canadian, who would finish fourth. 56e CH’s final match of the season, Wednesday night against Edmonton Oilers, will have no bearing on the standings.
So the Canadians and the cards will meet in the qualifiers for the first time since 1979. The move of the Torontonians to the Western Conference from the beginning of the eighties to the end of the nineties of the last century caused a clash between the old rivals, who only found themselves in the final of the Stanley Cup.
Although the two teams have been playing in the Atlantic League since 2013, the long-awaited reunion never happened.
Surprisingly, these clubs are two hundred years old, and they will only be the sixteen clubse A chain between the two teams. With their last victory in 1979 – a sweep in four matches in the quarter-finals – Al-Ahsa advanced 8-7. The Montreal team won the Stanley Cup that year.
This season, the Maple Leafs team has already made sure to finish 1st in the Northern Division. With one final match to be played on Friday, they are 35-13-6. They won their 10-game series with flying colors against the Canadians by signing 7 wins.
Aston Matthews was his team’s offensive captain against CH with 14 points. Mitch Marner (11) and John Tavares (10) followed, respectively.
In Canada, Jeff Petrie was the best with 10 points, followed by Nick Suzuki (8) and Tyler Toffoli (7).
For the Canadians, this is a return to the playoffs after having missed them three times in the past five full seasons. A fourth failure could have been added if the 2019-2020 campaign had been fully disputed; The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has expanded the frames of the 2020 series, allowing halls of residence to progress to the qualifying round. After winning four matches (in the form of three of five) over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the club lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in six games.
As for cards, they entered the knockout rounds under pressure, reaching the first round for the first time since 2004. They missed 10 times in the following 11 seasons. Subsequently, the club’s rebuilding around Aston Matthews, which began in 2016, resulted in four eliminations in the first round.
The National Hockey League 2021 qualifiers begin on Saturday, but no date has been set for the first match on the Canadian Leaves. It must be said that the Torontonians will play their last game on Friday. The date circulated, Tuesday, is Wednesday 19 May for the start of hostilities.
The other series in the North Division will pit the Edmonton Oilers against Winnipeg Jets.