Ontario has given the green light for 550 fully vaccinated healthcare workers to attend tonight’s Game 7 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the visiting Montreal Canadiens in their North Division playoff series.
Premier Doug Ford’s office says the frontline workers received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine more than two weeks ago and will go through screening and other precautionary measures.
The province says the crowd will be “well below” capacity for 19,800-seat Scotiabank Arena.
Some 2,500 people were in the stands in Montreal when the two teams last clashed on Saturday. That was the first crowd for a game in Canada this year.
Toronto has lost six post-season series in a row since beating the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the NHL playoffs in 2004. The underdog Habs have won two consecutive overtime games to set the stage for Game 7.
The lone previous Game 7 between the Original Six rivals came in 1964 when Dave Keon had a hat trick to lead Toronto to a 3-1 win at the Montreal Forum.
Toronto has lost seven straight contests where it could have eliminated an opponent. That includes six since 2018 with the core of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.
The Canadiens finished 18 points behind the first-place Leafs in this year’s 56-game campaign.
The winner of the series faces the Winnipeg Jets in the North Division final, which will start Wednesday.