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Photo Credit: © Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The playoff series we’ve all been waiting for is here: Leafs vs. Habs starts, tonight!

Well, Leafs Nation, this is it. The playoffs have arrived, and the long-awaited historic rivalry matchup is upon us. For the next 4 to 7 games, the Toronto Maple Leafs will battle the Montreal Canadiens. It’s going to be intense, it’s going to be bloody, it’s going to be nerve-wracking, and it’s going to be so much fun.

My stepbrother sent me a picture of this house from his neighbourhood yesterday, and I think this encapsulates all of our sentiments right now – we are ready!

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Of course, Habs fans are ready, too:

And these two tweets basically sum up this rivalry. Leafs fans love to love our team, and Habs fans love to hate our team.

On the Leaf front, some news late last night:

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This is great for the Leafs, as both Zach Hyman and Zach Bogosian have been instrumental to the team’s success this season, and it’s exciting to see what Riley Nash can bring to the group. Having a healthy squad to start the series is definitely a plus.

Meanwhile, in Montreal:

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Habs fans on Twitter are a bit perturbed by this news, wondering why their future (current?) star player isn’t playing.

For the Leafs, and Leaf fans, this series is exciting and important in a few ways. Obviously the nature of this rivalry is one. The Leafs finishing this season as the number one seed in their division, and having “home ice” (without fans, though) is another. And of course – the pressure to finally, finally, make it out of the first round is immense. Leafs fans are confident but nervous, excited to see what this Leafs team can do, how far they can go.

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With Rocket Richard winner Auston Matthews, and new playoff starting goalie Jack Campbell, is this the year the Leafs make a real run? We’ll find out, starting tonight.

Lineups

Toronto Maple Leafs

LW C RW
Zach Hyman
ZACH HYMAN

Rating: 74.6#33 LW

Auston Matthews
AUSTON MATTHEWS

Rating: 82.3#6 C

Mitch Marner
MITCH MARNER

Rating: 76.6#18 RW

Nick Foligno
NICK FOLIGNO

Rating: 72.5#61 LW

John Tavares
JOHN TAVARES

Rating: 77.6#15 C

William Nylander
WILLIAM NYLANDER

Rating: 76.1#23 RW

Ilya Mikheyev
ILYA MIKHEYEV

Rating: 74.0#42 LW

Riley Nash
RILEY NASH

Rating: 69.7#137 C

Alexander Kerfoot
ALEXANDER KERFOOT

Rating: 70.8#113 RW

Joe Thornton
JOE THORNTON

Rating: 72.3#74 LW

Jason Spezza
JASON SPEZZA

Rating: 69.4#126 C

Wayne Simmonds
WAYNE SIMMONDS

Rating: 70.2#112 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY

Rating: 75.3#14 LD

T.J. Brodie
T.J. BRODIE

Rating: 74.2#27 RD

Jake Muzzin
JAKE MUZZIN

Rating: 75.1#17 LD

Justin Holl
JUSTIN HOLL

Rating: 72.0#61 RD

Rasmus Sandin
RASMUS SANDIN

Rating: 72.3#69 LD

Zach Bogosian
ZACH BOGOSIAN

Rating: 71.4#76 RD

Montreal Canadiens

LW C RW
Tomas Tatar
TOMAS TATAR

Rating: 77.7#10 LW

Phillip Danault
PHILLIP DANAULT

Rating: 75.5#29 C

Brendan Gallagher
BRENDAN GALLAGHER

Rating: 78.3#7 RW

Tyler Toffoli
TYLER TOFFOLI

Rating: 75.9#25 LW

Nick Suzuki
NICK SUZUKI
Joel Armia
JOEL ARMIA

Rating: 73.1#54 RW

Corey Perry
COREY PERRY

Rating: 70.8#101 LW

Eric Staal
ERIC STAAL

Rating: 74.2#45 C

Josh Anderson
JOSH ANDERSON

Rating: 73.4#42 RW

Paul Byron
PAUL BYRON

Rating: 71.8#78 LW

Jake Evans
JAKE EVANS
Artturi Lehkonen
ARTTURI LEHKONEN

Rating: 71.7#81 RW

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Joel Edmundson
JOEL EDMUNDSON

Rating: 73.8#39 LD

Jeff Petry
JEFF PETRY

Rating: 76.7#13 RD

Brett Kulak
BRETT KULAK

Rating: 73.4#46 LD

Ben Chiarot
BEN CHIAROT

Rating: 73.8#38 RD

Jon Merrill
JON MERRILL

Rating: 72.6#54 LD

Shea Weber
SHEA WEBER

Rating: 76.5#15 RD

Starting Goalies

Toronto Maple Leafs: Jack Campbell

Well, friends, like I said they would early in the season, the Leafs have done it. Jack Campbell is the starting goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs in game 1 of the playoffs. Jack had a pretty stellar season with the Leafs, carrying a heavy load in the second half after returning from injury just in time to see Frederik Andersen placed on IR. With a 17-3-2 W-L | 2.15 GAA | 0.921 SV% record, Jack has earned this spot. He has endeared himself to his teammates and to fans, and I am very excited to see what he can do.

Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price

After coming back from injury and a stint in the minors to get him up to speed, the expectation is that Habs starting goalie Carey Price will be in net to start the series. Price only played about half the season, with a 12-7-5 W-L | 2.64 GAA | 0.901 SV% record in that time. Long considered one of the best goalies in the league, he has struggled a bit to remain consistent in recent seasons. But playoff hockey is a different animal entirely, so Leafs fans should not be discounting what he can do in net. It’s the veteran goalie against the freshman starter – no matter what, it’ll be fun to watch!

And finally, to get you as hyped for the series as we all are here at TLN, a video by our own Scott Maxwell:

Catch the action, do not miss it! Tonight, 7:30PM EST, on Sportsnet.