The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 4-1 in a hard-hitting, scrappy affair.
The Leafs found a 1-0 lead in the first period, courtesy of a Phil Kessel power-play goal. The Canadiens answered before the first period ended with a goal off of the stick of Lars Eller. Cody Franson could not keep up with Eller who was able to just barely poked past James Reimer.
In the second period, Andrei Markov scored for the Habs on a seeing-eye shot from the point that went right under the crossbar. Then, Brendan Gallagher extended the lead in the second period as he chased down a puck that was dumped into the Leafs' end and fired it past Reimer for a 3-1 lead.
In the third period, Tomas Plakanec ended a personal 12-game goal drought by firing a shot over James Reimer's shoulder to make it 4-1. Reimer was chased after the Plekanec goal, after allowing four goals on 23 shots against.
The Leafs just fell apart in the second period, managing just one shot on goal for the entire period. They stopped skating, stopped moving their feet and could retrieve pucks that they dumped into the Canadiens' end.
The Canadiens now have the lead in points for the Northeast division for the moment, after the Boston Bruins lost in overtime to the Washington Capitals. The Canadiens clinch with a Boston regulation loss in the Bruins' final game of the season. Otherwise, the Leafs will play the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs.
Final score: Montreal Canadiens 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 1.
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