Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs: Live Score, Updates and Analysis
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.
With the Ottawa Senators' regulation loss to the Flyers, the Leafs have locked up the No. 5 seed. They will open the playoffs either in Montreal or in Boston next week.
If Boston wins their final game of the season, the Leafs will play the Habs. If the Bruins lose in any possible manner, the Leafs will visit the Bruins instead for a first-round playoff series.
The Leafs need Tyler Bozak back in the lineup. The confusion that his absence caused in this game cannot be measured in words.
They ended up losing the faceoff battle to Montreal 34-30 and that really summarized the game in a nutshell. The Leafs never really had the puck for that long and did not do anything as far as getting the puck on net in the second period and most of the third period.
The Leafs failed to take advantage of the "backup" goaltender, Peter Budaj. Don't tell Budaj he is a backup though, as he has one eight straight starts to finish his season with an 8-1-1 record.
That's a final score from Toronto.
Montreal 4, Toronto 1.
Nazem Kadri draws another penalty, as P.K. Subban high-sticks him.
Behindthenet.ca observes that Kadri is a leader in drawing penalties this season, but this one isn't going to matter in the win-loss column.
Clarke MacArthur, the latest Toronto Maple Leaf to pick up 14 minutes in penalties in one go. MacArthur gets two for slashing, two for unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10-minute misconduct.
Insert the "olay, olay, olay, olay" chant by Habs fans here.
The Canadiens will not be able to clinch the Northeast Division tonight as the Boston Bruins have gone to overtime with the Washington Capitals.
If the Bruins lose in overtime and then lose their final game of the season, the Canadiens will clinch the No. 2 seed and the division title.
There are over 11 minutes to go in the third period, but it seems like this game is already over. The Maple Leafs aren't backing down by any stretch, but they have yet to hit double digits for shots on goal in the game with just two shots this period.
Canadiens are going to be on the power play here for the next four minutes. Fraser Mclaren gets two minutes for charging, two minutes for roughing and a game misconduct.
This all came about in a scrum after Mclaren was already going to pick up a penalty for charging.
Markov will go to the sin bin for two minutes for hooking, negating part of the power play.
Tomas Plakanec just put the Canadiens up 4-1! The Toronto Maple Leafs are making a change in goal here as Ben Scrivens comes off of the bench to relieve him.
The Canadiens have four goals to the Maple Leafs seven shots on goal.
Third period is underway here in Toronto. Montreal almost immediately with pressure on the power play chance.
Toronto has to start skating and start pushing the issue with shots on goal if they are to make a come back in this game.
The Habs have plenty to play for here in the third period. The Boston Bruins just blew a two-goal lead and are now tied with the Washington Capitals at 2-2.
If Boston loses that game in regulation and this score holds up for the Leafs-Habs game, the Habs will clinch the Northeast Division title.
The Canadiens scored two goals in the second period while the Leafs had one shot on goal in the second period.
Do the math and what happens?
The Leafs looked like they had no interest in playing hockey in the second period. They were completely out-hustled by the Canadiens. The Canadiens seem to have taken personal offense to that comment by Joffrey Lupul about their size.
The Leafs will need an enormous physical and mental effort in the third period to force an overtime period and get that all important point that will cement them as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Leafs finally get some momentum going and get a power play via Joffrey Lupul getting slashed. That momentum is immediately wiped out as the Leafs power play takes a "too many men on the ice" call.
Randy Carlyle, needless to say, is beyond incensed.
The Canadiens have managed to take the wind out of the sails of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
The Habs are "out-Leafing" the Leafs by winning faceoffs, getting shots on goal and getting in on the forecheck.
Toronto has just one (count it one) shot on goal in this period, despite having two power plays this period. That gives them just seven shots on goal for the entire game.
Leafs going back to the power play here after Michael Ryder takes down John-Michael Liles.
Brendan Gallagher now has more points vs Leafs than any other Hab this year with 4 in 3 gms. Kessel leads Leafs vs Habs (8 in 5) #THNLive— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) April 28, 2013
On a side note, The Hockey News now notes that Brendan Gallagher is the Habs leading scorer against the Leafs this season.
Amusing how many giveaways the Leafs have so far. In fact, the Leafs have 10 giveaways and seven shots on goal.
That is not a recipe for success no matter how good of a team is playing.
Brendan Gallagher scores off of a dump-in.
Gallagher hustled past Carl Gunnarsson to chip the puck past James Reimer and into the goal.
Tyler Bozak's absence is noticeable in the faceoff circle. That last goal by Andrei Markov came directly off of a draw that Mikhail Grabovski lost.
Grabovski is only 33 percent on the draws thus far this evening.
Luckily, the Toronto power play will be going back on the ice after Nazem Kadri was hauled down going to the net.
Andrei Markov scores right off of the draw to make it 2-1 Montreal!
Markov's shot almost hit Leo Komarov in the rear, but managed to fit it just between Komarov's legs and under the crossbar from the point.
The crew on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" noted that the Canadiens were very physical in the first period. This is a facetious understatement.
The Chris Johnston piece that I mentioned in one of the pregame posts has taken the Canadiens and sparked them physically. With that physicality comes energy and that creates drives to the net.
Although the Leafs have taken three of the previous four games against the Canadiens, the Canadiens are simply a few good games of goaltending away from sending the Leafs home in the first round of the playoffs.
Keys to the second period for each team are as follows:
The Canadiens need to find a way to keep their speed going through the neutral zone. The Leafs have some players that are very speedy on offense, but the Canadiens have a definite advantage if they can get to the net like Lars Eller was able to do with his goal.
The Maple Leafs looked slow in the first period. They are missing top-line center Tyler Bozak, but they need to continue to get pucks to the net and continue screening Peter Budaj.
Second period underway in Toronto.
The Leafs looked very confident after that Phil Kessel power-play goal. Their momentary confidence cause them to take their foot off of the gas.
Not even three minutes later, the Canadiens tied the game.
Even though the Leafs only need one point to lock up the fifth seed in the playoffs, they need to play a 60-minute game if they are to force overtime and pick up that valuable point.
Not going to find a more tightly-contested, playoff-like atmosphere than that first period between the Maple Leafs and Canadiens.
The Leafs lead in hits after one period, 23-16. The Leafs did a great job of pressing the issue earlier in the period, keeping the Habs from getting a shot on goal until over halfway through the period.
The Phil Kessel power-play goal got the Leafs off and running.
But the Habs kept pressing the issue. Lars Eller caught Cody Franson flat-footed over the Leafs' blue line, putting the puck past James Reimer to tie the game at one before the end of the period.
Montreal scores to tie the game at 1!
Jared Tinordi takes Mikael Grabovski right off of his feet, leading to a rush the other way.
Lars Eller scores on a break while being hooked by Cody Franson. Assists to Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk.
Montreal 1, Toronto 1.
Leafs take the 1-0 lead on the power play!
Phil Kessel fires a wrist shot five-hole on Peter Budaj. Josh Georges tried to clear Joffrey Lupul from in front of the net, but he ended up screening his own goalie.
Budaj never saw the shot.
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