Hockey’s greatest rivalry

Ever since the National Hockey League was born, the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs have battled it out. Almost a century later, it continues.

Josh White

The Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs are two of the most popular teams in the NHL. From the brawls, to the cheers and the boos – every fan has witnessed special moments in this rivalry.

Montreal (30-14-7) is first in the Atlantic Division, but Toronto (23-16-9) is in fourth and nipping at the Habs’ heels.

Brad Perry is a diehard Leafs fan.

“Toronto and Montreal on a Saturday night has always been a big thing for Newfoundlanders and Canadians,” said Perry. “It’s always special to see them play on a weekend.”

Habs fan Nick Harris says it’s not only about scoring a win for your team, it’s the excitement every fan feels when watching these teams go head to head.

“I love watching these teams battle it out for the win,” Harris said. “Fans everywhere watch this rivalry, no matter what the age. It’s a great thing to watch with the family on Hockey Night in Canada.”

Andrew Holm, a die hard Habs Fan, has always seen the fun side of the rivalry. He enjoys poking fun at the Leafs’ fan base whenever the opportunity presents itself.

“I still think the Leafs have sad, sad fans,” Holm said. “They need some encouragement, and Montreal Canadien fans just know how to have fun.”

As much as it is the teams, it’s also the players.

Lifelong Leafs fan, Dave Parsons, says one goaltender changed the dynamic and the score of every Montreal versus Toronto game.

“Curtis Joseph, he was always unstoppable against the Canadiens,” said Parsons. “Nobody could really get anything past him. He always had a high amount of shutouts against the Canadiens. I loved watching him play against the Canadiens because I knew it was pretty much a win in the bag.”

Rivalries between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens has been a topic of debate amongst Newfoundlanders for decades. Father and son Caden Stock (left) and Jason Stock are on opposite teams. Josh White/Kicker

Caden Stock is a fan of the Montreal Canadians. He recently moved to Newfoundland and Labrador from Florida and says the team has been playing exceptionally well this season.

“They haven’t lost that much this year. Their defence is very good,” said Stock.

When the Leafs and Canadiens face off on Saturday night, things will heat up even more.

The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the NHL and its most heated rivalry. These teams face off one more time this season on Feb. 25, 8:30 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.