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Canadiens Defeat Maple Leafs in Game 7; Advance to Face Jets in Round 2

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 1, 2021

Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens are moving on to the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs after beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 in Monday's decisive Game 7.

The result completed Montreal's comeback from a 3-1 series deficit, making the Canadiens the 26th team to pull off the feat in NHL history.

Brendan Gallagher and Corey Perry scored in the second period to power Montreal.

Gallagher's wrist shot found the five hole on Jack Campbell with 3:02 off the clock in the period.

The Habs then tallied their third power-play goal in two games. Perry was in the right place to tip home the puck on a shot by Nick Suzuki.

Tyler Toffoli added a third after the Leafs pulled their goalie in the third period before William Nylander netted a consolation goal for Toronto.


Notable Performers

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Carey Price, G, Canadiens: 30 saves, .968 save percentage

Eric Staal, C, Canadiens: two assists, one takeaway

Brendan Gallagher, RW, Canadiens: one goal, four shots

Jack Campbell, G, Maple Leafs: 20 saves, .909 save percentage


Price Sets the Tone

Prior to Gallagher's opener, it looked like this wouldn't be the Leafs' night. And a lot of that had to do with Carey Price. The Habs netminder was excellent between the pipes.

Price gave up seven goals in Games 2 and 4, but this marked a return to his Hart Memorial and Vezina Trophy-winning form of 2014-15.

This was a workmanlike showing by the Canadiens.

They turned defense into offense to get their first goal, as Eric Staal's takeaway on Mitchell Marner culminated in Gallagher's wrister. Having struggled with the man advantage through the first five games, Montreal carried its Game 6 power-play success into Monday.

And after being left for dead by many, the Habs look dangerous.


Leafs' Postseason Woes Continue

You have to wonder how much the weight of history burdened Toronto even though most of its players weren't responsible for past playoff heartbreak. When so much of the conversation around a team is about a title drought and years of disappointment, members of the organization will inevitably hear about it.

For Leafs fans, the sense of foreboding likely started as soon as Gallagher's shot hit the back of the net. When Perry doubled the Canadiens' lead, it was a fait accompli.

Between the Leafs' performance this season and their 3-1 lead, this collapse will sting more so than recent playoff exits. As the cliche goes, it's the hope that kills you, and there were many reasons to think things would play out differently.

The Maple Leafs haven't won a playoff series since 2004, and their Stanley Cup drought was extended another year with this latest postseason exit:

The bulk of the roster is signed for at least one more season, and there aren't many aging vets, so the championship window isn't slamming shut.

But simply running it back might not cut it after this result. Marner and Auston Matthews were held to one goal in the series.


What's Next?

The Canadiens will meet the Winnipeg Jets in the second round. Winnipeg swept the Edmonton Oilers.

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