The Toronto Maple Leafs are about to begin another campaign tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. Leafs fans have not had a lot to brag about, so before getting into a war of words with a Canadiens fan tonight, think first.
The Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cups. Since the 1966-67 campaign, when the Maple Leafs last won a Stanley Cup, the Canadiens have won 10 championships. Since the 2004-05 NHL season lockout, the Canadiens have missed the playoffs twice and the Maple Leafs have only one playoff series against the Boston Bruins.
Forwards Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec, along with defenseman PK Subban, were Montreal’s biggest scorers last season earning 187 points total. Toronto forwards Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk, along with former right winger Phil Kessel, earned 166 points last season and all combined with dreadful minuses in the plus-minus category.
The Canadiens’ top workhorses on their blue line were Andrei Markov and Subban, who had 110 points together and were very successful achieving a plus-21 and plus-22 respectively. However, the Leafs’ best two players on the blue line were the captain Dion Phaneuf and former draft pick Morgan Rielly who combined for 58 points last season, and yet again both players were in the minus of the plus/minus category last year.
In addition, there was no comparison between Montreal’s goaltenders Carey Price and Dustin Tokarski last season and Toronto’s duo of Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer. Price is Montreal’s steady goaltender, winning 44 of his 66 starts, and Tokarski started the other 16 contests and won six of them. With the Leafs’ goaltending, Bernier won 21 of his 55 starts last season and Reimer only won nine of the remaining 27 games.
Coaching was far superior in Montreal over Toronto as well. Coach Michel Therrien returned to Montreal for a second stint with the franchise and guided the team to a 50-win season. There were two coaches in Toronto last season and the roster appeared to have quit on both former head honchos in Randy Carlyle and Peter Horachek.
Yes, there will always be good-natured teasing back and forth between fans of both teams. That will never change between the rivals. However, the Canadiens are coming off a 110-point campaign that found them in the conference semifinals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. On the other hand, the Maple Leafs finished with an abysmal 68 points, giving up 262 goals last season and missing the playoffs once again.
The Canadiens have definitely had greater success than the Maple Leafs, both now and over the past 50 years.