The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs face-off in their 2021-2022 season opener just months after meeting in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this past May.
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In the United States, the game (7 p.m. ET start time) won’t be televised, but anyone in the US can watch the Canadiens vs Maple Leafs live on ESPN+:
ESPN+ includes every out-of-market, non-nationally televised game (about 1,000 games in total), as well as 75 exclusive national NHL games (no blackouts for in-market viewers) this season. It also has dozens of other live sports, every 30-for-30 documentary in existence and additional original content (both video and written) all for $6.99 for a month or $69.99 for a year (or about seven cents per NHL game if you want to look at it that way). It’s a clear must-have option for NHL fans in the United States.
If you also want Disney+ and Hulu, you can get all three for $13.99 per month. Separately, the three streaming services would cost a total $20.97 per month, so you’re saving about 33 percent:
Once signed up for ESPN+, you can watch the Canadiens vs Maple Leafs live on the ESPN app on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4 or 5, Xbox One or Series X/S, any device with Android TV (such as a Sony TV or Nvidia Shield), Samsung Smart TV, Oculus Go, iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet.
You can also watch on your computer via ESPN.com.
Canadiens vs Maple Leafs Preview
The Toronto Maple Leafs kick-start what they hope to be a special season on Wednesday night when they face the team who knocked them out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last May – the Montreal Canadiens.
The Canadiens outlasted the Leafs in a seven-game first-round series that began an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final, where they’d ultimately fall in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It was yet another disappointing, premature exit from the postseason for the Leafs, who have failed to reach the second round since 2004.
Toronto finished in first place in the North Division (a division of Canada-based teams which was assembled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions during the 2020-2021 season) with a 35-14-7 record and held a 3-1 lead in the first-round series prior to dropping the final three games to Montreal.
The Leafs’ star forward Auston Matthews is coming off a season in which he led the NHL in goals (41 in 52 games). Matthews will not be available for the opener and most likely will miss the season’s first few games as he continues to recover from wrist surgery that he underwent on August 13.
“I’m not expecting him to be available for the first three games,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said at practice this week. “Auston is not at the point right now where he is feeling comfortable playing. He is still not quite there so he is not going to be available for us this week, which is why you saw him in a different jersey and not part of a line today.”
Keefe is in his third season as Leafs coach, but this will be his first full 82-game campaign since replacing Mike Babcock on Nov. 20, 2019. Through two shortened seasons with Toronto, the 41-year-old Keefe has compiled a record of 62-29-12.
Defending the net this season for the Leafs will be goalies Jack Campbell and Peter Mrzek. Campbell came on late last season and was stellar down the stretch and into the playoffs, going 17-3-2 with a 2.15 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and two shutouts in 22 games. Mrzek was signed in the offseason after going 6-2-3 in 12 starts for the Boston Bruins last season.
The key additions for the Leafs include forward Nick Ritchie, who netted 15 goals last season for the Bruins, winger Michael Bunting, who tallied 13 points in 23 games for the Arizona Coyotes last year, and forward Ondrej Kase, who only played in three games last season for the Bruins when he was plagued by a concussion and other injury-related issues.
The Canadiens will be returning to the Atlantic Division this season, where the reigning champion Lightning, Bruins, Leafs, and Florida Panthers will be waiting.
Montreal goalie Carey Price enters his 15th NHL season. The 34-year-old has been recovering from arthroscopic surgery he had on July 22 to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.
The Canadiens will get a full-season glimpse into a promising future with their budding young offensive weapons, 20-year-old Cole Caufield and 22-year-old Nick Suzuki, showcasing their talents on the ice together. Caufield played in 30 games last season, which included 20 playoff contests, scoring eight goals and tallying 17 points, while Suzuki netted 15 goals and recorded 41 points in 56 games.