CANADIENS (0-0-0) @ MAPLE LEAFS (0-0-0)
TV : TVA SPORTS, SPORTSNET, 7:00 p.m. EST
The 2015-2016 NHL season kicks off Wednesday night as the Habs are in Toronto to face the Maple Leafs. The game marks the Canadiens’ first of four consecutive road games to start the season. The Habs will travel back to Montreal after the match against Toronto before hitting the road again for road games against the Bruins on Saturday, the Senators on Sunday and the Penguins on Tuesday.
The Canadiens and Maple Leafs squared off twice in the preseason. On September 22, the Leafs got the better of the Habs winning 2-1 in Montreal. Then, just four days later, the Canadiens got their payback shutting out the Maple Leafs in a 1-0 victory in Toronto.
Two players will officially make their Canadiens debuts against the Maple Leafs; Alexander Semin, who Marc Bergevin brought to Montreal on a one-year deal this summer and Tomas Fleischmann, who signed a one-year contract at the end of training camp.
Both players have quickly found their niche on the team and will slot in with the same line-mates they played with since the start of training camp. Semin will line up beside Alex Galchenyuk opposite Lars Eller, while Fleischmann will play on David Desharnais wing alongside Dale Weise.
Tomas Plekanec – flanked by Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher – and Torrey Mitchell – in between Brian Flynn and Devante Smith-Pelly – will center the other two trios. Paul Byron, recently claimed off waivers on Tuesday, will not play Wednesday night and will join Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn in the press-box.
Carey Price gets the start in goal for the Canadiens. In the Leafs’ camp, coach Mike Babcock will make his much awaited Maple Leafs debut. The former Red Wings head coach signed an eight-year agreement with Toronto during the offseason this summer.
Several other summer acquisitions will also make their Leafs debut, including forwards Mark Arcobello, Brad Boyes, Michael Grabner, Shawn Matthias, Nick Spaling and former Hab Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau. In net, Jonathan Bernier gets the nod for the Maple Leafs Wednesday night.
The Canadiens and Maple Leafs will face each other in the season opener for the sixth year in a row. Last season, the Habs came away with a 4-3 victory in the first game of the year thanks to a late third period goal by Tomas Plekanec.