Thompson Sports News

NHL season kicks off in Canada on Wednesday as Maple Leafs host Canadiens

TORONTO - The puck will drop on a new NHL season tonight for most of Canada's teams - although fans may notice some differences from previous years.

The Toronto Maple Leafs host the Montreal Canadiens in the first game of the evening, a return to the tradition of having the two storied rivals open their seasons against each other.

It's the first of five games on the schedule, including the Winnipeg Jets travelling to Anaheim to take on the Ducks. The night will wrap in Edmonton as the Oilers welcome the Vancouver Canucks. Both Toronto and Montreal will be missing their biggest stars.

Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews will miss the game as he recovers from off-season wrist surgery and Habs goaltender Carey Price has voluntarily entered the league's player assistance program for unspecified mental health issues.

Canadiens captain Shea Weber is also out, as he's on the team's long-term injury reserve list and could be out for the entire season.

Fans attending the games in Toronto and Edmonton in person will also be subject to restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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