It’s official. The NHL is back.
This weekend marks the beginning of the 2013 hockey season after both the players union and owners consented to a revised labor agreement. And while this is good news for most, after Saturday’s games it’ll be bad news for one side of the NHL’s most intense rivalry: the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. the Montreal Canadiens.
Toronto will leave the comforts of the Air Canada Centre to take on the Canadiens on their home ice in this historically heated contention. It’s so heated in fact, that many who are unfamiliar with hockey or this particular bout could easily compare it to the Yankees and Red Sox, Michigan and Ohio State, or the Israelis and Palestinians.
So before you slip on your team’s hockey sweater, pull up a lounge chair in front of the HD flat screen, and crack a fresh Molson be sure to know the facts about the bitter Leafs-Habs rivalry.
- The rivalry traces back to Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War) sentiments at the Plains of Abraham. English-speaking, Protestant Canadians with British loyalty ultimately supported Toronto while French Canadians and Catholics sided with Montreal.
- Montreal leads the series all time with 378 wins, 309 losses, and 88 ties.
- These two teams have met 5 times for the Stanley Cup in which Toronto leads the series 3-2.
- Toronto upset Montreal in 1967, the year of the Canadian Confederation’s centennial and the year in which Montreal was hosting Expo 67. They were expected to easily beat Toronto.
- Toronto hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967. Montreal has won 10 times since.
- The leading scorer for the Maple Leafs during the 2011-2012 season was Phil Kessel, formerly of our Boston Bruins.
- Both teams will close out their respective regular seasons by playing none other than each other.