Game 639 – Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1

Game 639
Canadiens 2, Maple Leafs 1
Saturday, March 13, 1999
Centre Molson, Montréal, Québec

This was one night the man in the mask couldn’t mask the Maple Leafs’ problems.

Curtis Joseph as he has been, as he’s needed to be, was brilliant again last night turning away several excellent scoring chances from a weak but surprisingly game Montréal Canadiens squad.

But his acrobatics, while covering up Toronto’s defensive woes, couldn’t help at the other end as Montréal held on for 2-1 victory in what was a raucous night of entertainment at a jam-packed Molson Centre.

The Leafs almost overcame their own coverage problems, a pathetic power play and a fading offence to tie the game with just under two minutes remaining but a goal by Tie Domi was waved off after a video review.

The puck, fired into a crowd in front of the net by Derek King, banked in off Domi’s skate and trickled into the net. Both Domi and Mats Sundin had been in the crease but had cleared out of the blue paint before the puck crossed the goal line.

But, according to the rules, if the puck is already in the crease en route to the goal with an offensive player in the crease, the shot is nullified. For the goal to count, the puck either has to come out of the crease again or be touched again by an offensive player.

“If that’s the rule, that’s the rule,” said Domi. “I just hope it’s the right call for the sake of the person’s job making the call. It cost us a point or two.”

In truth, the Leafs cost themselves any chance at a point with a horrid opening 30 minutes. It was a continuation of back-to-back awful games against Tampa Bay and the Islanders earlier in the week. Toronto won those games over two of the NHL’s bottom-feeders, but they yielded 82 shots in the process.

“I think the ruling (on Domi’s non-goal) was right,” said centre Steve Sullivan. “But it shouldn’t have come down to that.”

Against the Habs last night, when Lonny Bohonos scored to make it 1-1 midway through the second period they were being outshot 22-7.

In a game that was both fast-paced and hard-hitting before a crowd that was divided about evenly in its loyalties, Montréal had a decided edge in pluck and being first on the puck.

Domi was the only Leaf who showed consistent spunk and he was eventually rewarded with a promotion to Sundin’s wing on the top line.

“I don’t have any excuses. Early in the game we were back on our heels. We had lots of jump in the second half of the game but we couldn’t penetrate their goaltender,” said coach Pat Quinn. “We’re finding different ways not to win right now.”

Jeff Hackett, coming off a shutout at St. Louis, was very solid in a third period in which the Leafs outshot Montréal 11-5. He finished with 27 saves. Joseph had 30 stops for Toronto. The Habs got power-play goals from Benoît Brunet and Sergei Zholtok.

Part of the Leafs’ problem is that that they were playing their seventh game in 11 nights in which they played in six different cities. It’s been a grind and that partially, though only partially, explains Toronto’s 3-4-0 record over that span.

“I’m not really concerned,” said captain Mats Sundin. “We’ve played seven games in 11 nights but now we don’t play again till Wednesday. Hopefully we’ll come back with fresh legs and fresh minds.”

The Leafs begin a four-game homestand Wednesday against Boston. Steve Thomas could return that night after missing the last two games with a broken toe. The Bruins game is followed by visits from New Jersey, Philadelphia and San Jose.

Story originally published in The Toronto Star, March 14, 1999


BOXSCORE
1st Period
TOR PEN – 00:39 – Bohonos, tripping
TOR PEN – 11:24 – K. King, fighting major
MTL PEN – 11:24 – Thornton, instigator + fighting major + misconduct
TOR PEN – 14:01 – Johnson, cross checking

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 03:15 – Karpovtsev, hooking
MTL PP GOAL – 04:34 – Brunet (Damphousse, Lachance)
TOR GOAL – 09:11 – Bohonos (Sundin, Domi)
TOR PEN – 11:39 – Sullivan, interference
MTL PP GOAL – 12:56 – Zholtok (Damphousse, Malakhov)
TOR PEN – 17:14 – D. King, slashing
MTL PEN – 17:14 – Koivu, roughing / cross checking double minor

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 03:00 – McCleary, hooking
MTL PEN – 07:59 – Weinrich, high sticking
TOR PEN – 11:58 – Valk, slashing

GOALTENDERS
MTL – Hackett (W, 27-28)
TOR – Joseph (L, 29-31)

SHOTS ON GOAL
MTL – 13+13+5 = 31
TOR – 6+11+11 = 28

ROSTERS
MTLGoaltenders: Jeff Hackett. Defence: Brett Clark, Scott Lachance, Vladimir Malakhov, Stéphane Quintal (A), Craig Rivet, Igor Ulanov, Eric Weinrich. Forwards: Benoît Brunet, Vincent Damphousse (C), Jonas Hoglund, Saku Koivu, Trent McCleary, Patrick Poulin, Brian Savage, Turner Stevenson, Scott Thornton, Sergei Zholtok, Dainius Zubrus.
TORGoaltenders: Curtis Joseph. Defence: Bryan Berard, Sylvain Côté, Alexander Karpovtsev, Danny Markov, Dmitri Yushkevich. Forwards: Sergei Berezin, Lonny Bohonos, Tie Domi, Mike Johnson, Derek King, Kris King (A), Igor Korolev, Chris McAllister, Jason Podollan, Steve Sullivan, Mats Sundin (C), Garry Valk, Todd Warriner.

TEAM RECORDS
MTL – 27-31-9 (.470)
TOR – 37-25-5 (.590)

ATTENDANCE
21,273

THREE STARS
Vincent Damphousse (MTL)
⭐⭐ Curtis Joseph (TOR)
⭐⭐⭐ Jeff Hackett (MTL)