Coming into last night's game, the Montreal Canadiens were the best team in the NHL at home according to possession metrics. Meanwhile the Toronto Maple Leafs were the league's worst road team. Everything pointed to a big Montreal win, and look what happened.
I'm not sure why the phenomena happens, but it seems like for a decade now, when these two teams play, they reverse roles. Toronto becomes a good team, while the Canadiens turn to shit. Luckily the Canadiens have 34 games left in the season that aren't against the Leafs.
Perhaps the reason why the games go as they do between these two teams is the "rivalry" we always hear about. In Montreal, there is no rivalry between the Leafs and the Canadiens. They're a pesky team that plays us hard, but so are the Washington Capitals, and I would hesitate to call them a rival. Sure, the prices for tickets go up, so suckers from Toronto will pay extra, but I don't know anyone in this city who gets pumped for a game against Toronto.
No, that feeling is saved for the Bruins. And when they return, the Nordiques. Meanwhile in Toronto, the Canadiens are the Leafs' #1 rival, and with 7 straight seasons without a hint of the playoffs, beating the Canadiens is the highlight of their season.
Canadiens vs Maple Leafs - Extended Game Recap
Habs Eyes On The Prize | Feb 10