It's hard to imagine that the NHL's oldest rivals have gone 42 years without facing each other in a playoff series. The rapid growth of NHL expansion combined with the two teams playing in separate conferences for a while have factored into the wait, so it's ironic that they've been brought back together in a pandemic. For the first time since 1979, the Canadiens and Maple Leafs are facing each other in a playoff series. Bring on the nostalgia.
Game 1 was a tough pill to swallow for the Leafs in more ways than one. Not only did they lose the game 2-1, but also John Tavares had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher after taking a hit from Ben Chiarot, then accidentally colliding with Corey Perry's knee. Tavares was transported to hospital afterward, where he will stay overnight to remain under observation. The good news is that he is "conscious and is communicating well", according to Elliotte Friedman. His status for Game 2 is very much in doubt, although his overall well-being is what's most important here.
I know this the Scotiabank Centre is still an arena with no fans, but I've never heard an arena go as dead silent as it did after this happened. Let's hope for the best here, whether you love or loathe the Leafs.
With no Tavares, the top line logged a ton of minutes for the Leafs. Mitch Marner at 27:23, Zach Hyman at 24:37, and Auston Matthews at 23:57. Their icetime will be something to watch in Game 2, especially if Tavares is out.
The Tavares injury overshadowed returns of both Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher from injuries. Price in particular was outstanding, stopping 35 of 36 shots to pick up the W. Any worries about Price being rusty after last playing a month ago should be put to bed. Playoff Price is even better than regular-season Price, as he has a lifetime 1.92 GAA in the postseason, including a sub-2.00 GAA in each of the last five playoffs the Habs have been in.
A former Leaf is in some