There is nothing better in the world of sports than a good rivalry and hockey fans will be treated to their sport’s top rivalry tonight: the Montreal Canadiens versus the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The richness of this rivalry alone is enough to fill the NHL’s history books with its greatest players, greatest moments and greatest heartbreaks.
This rivalry is the reason why we love hockey. In an uneventful season, it can single-handedly reignite the passion of fans.
That’s also why tonight’s game promises something special. There’s nothing uneventful about this season: Toronto is posed to make its second straight trip to the playoffs after a long drought, but Montreal can put those plans on hold with a winning performance against the good guys.
Tonight’s action will take place at the Air Canada Centre where the Leafs currently enjoy a record of 22-12-1. However, they are coming off three straight loses, including a tough 5-3 loss at home to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, so a strong home record may be the furthest thing on their minds these days.
For its part, Montreal has gone 5-5-0 over the past ten games. They lost an equally tough one to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.
Aside from bragging rights, there are potential playoff implications at the top of the Eastern Conference standings in play as well. The two teams are separated by three points right now and they’ve already traded places at the top of the conference several times over the course of the season.
If Toronto wants to overtake Montreal one more time, a victory tonight is absolutely necessary. A victory would also help them secure a playoff spot in general, which should be their primary goal.
You can expect a passion-filled and consequence-laden game tonight when the puck drops.
Follow me on Twitter for regular posts about sports (especially the Toronto Maple Leafs), politics and other news topics: @williamefwilson