Game 648 – Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 2

Game 648
Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 2
Saturday, December 23, 2000
Centre Molson, Montréal, Québec

Curtis Joseph won’t be staying up late tonight.

No looking up the chimney for you know who. He won’t have to scramble back to bed at the sight of Santa’s red pants. He won’t have to hope the jolly one heard his wish.

Because if Joseph wanted just one thing this Christmas, it was probably his 300th career win.

Santa grants wishes for good kids – and good goalies – so Joseph got his 300th in the Leafs’ 5-2 win over Montréal last night before a packed house of 21,272 at the Molson Centre.

The Leafs also got a gift: the victory ended Toronto’s four-game losing skid.

The Leafs finally played well enough in front of their all-star goalie after failing to help him get the milestone win on three previous occasions.

“Yeah, absolutely, it was special,” Joseph said. “We kept the puck. It has a Montréal logo. We know when to win, it’s Christmas and it would have been tough going into Christmas with another loss.”

Coach Pat Quinn scrambled under the Leafs bench for Joseph’s puck after it was flipped into the player’s sitting area. The Leafs goalie will enlist the services of Tie Domi’s framing business to create a momento of the victory.

Joseph is now 300-225-71 for his career, with 30 shutouts (11 as a Leaf) and a 2.85 goals-against average. The 300 wins puts him 17th on the NHL all-time list, two behind Turk Broda.

Joseph now has 87 wins as a Leaf, seventh on the club’s all-time list (Lorne Chabot is sixth with 103).

“You bet it’s special,” Quinn said. “He’s been terrific for the Leafs but also for a few other clubs along the way. Three hundred is a number, but it’s an important number. It puts him in the company of other great goalies. I’m just very pleased for him.”

The Leafs took advantage of the mistake-happy Canadiens, who now have an NHL-worst 22 losses.

With the score 1-0 after one period, Montréal goalie Jeff Hackett let in a soft goal on a long wrist shot from Tomas Kaberle 48 seconds into the second that deflated his mates’ hopes. Trailing 3- 0, Brian Savage scored Montréal’s first goal at 15:24 of the second period. But just two minutes and three seconds later Patrice Brisebois contributed his own critical error.

The Montréal native tried a pass through two Leafs from in front of his net. Mats Sundin intercepted it and directed a neat pass to Jonas Hoglund, who drilled slap shot through Hackett to make it 4- 1.

Éric Landry made it 5-2 midway through the third, but the goal was anomalies on a businesslike evening for Joseph.

“We’ve relied on Curtis way too much this season,” Leafs winger Gary Roberts said. “He’s saved our butts all year so it’s nice to see us finally get him that win.”

The only club on Molson Centre ice that was getting it together was the Leafs. They abandoned the undisciplined ways and tendency for silly penalties that plagued them in their four-game slide.

Heck, it was a downright bountiful feast, with Sergei Berezin breaking a nine-game goal-less drought with a pair.

Sundin had the other goal for the Leafs, who now get a two-day break for Christmas before playing in Atlanta on Boxing Day and in Pittsburgh as the opposition for Mario Lemieux’s return on December 27.

Berezin, whose last goal came November 30 against the Islanders, has absorbed some chiding from his teammates since he is way out of character with more assists (20) than goals (9).

“I asked Yanic (Perreault) to send some goals my way,” Berezin said of his centre, who is among the team leaders with 11. “It’s nice to get the goals, but we needed the win.”

“You don’t want to say must win, but we had to win,” Quinn added. “Because you go through Christmas and then into Atlanta, and then you have to win there.”

Story originally published in The Toronto Star, December 24, 2000

1st Period
TOR PEN – 13:00 – Mair, boarding
MTL PEN – 16:20 – Robidas, holding
TOR PP GOAL – 18:00 – Berezin (Perreault, Tucker)

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 00:48 – Kaberle (Corson, Tucker)
TOR PEN – 03:13 – Domi, fighting major
MTL PEN – 03:13 – Odjick, fighting major
MTL PEN – 04:19 – Kilger, holding
TOR PEN – 07:48 – Svoboda, roughing / holding double minor
TOR GOAL – 12:33 – Berezin (Valk, Kaberle)
MTL GOAL – 15:24 – Savage (Koivu)
TOR GOAL – 17:37 – Hoglund (Sundin)

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 03:43 – Sundin (Hoglund, Korolev)
TOR PEN – 05:59 – Domi, roughing
MTL PP GOAL – 07:46 – Landry (Bouillon, Dykhuis)
TOR PEN – 09:02 – Sundin, holding
TOR PEN – 13:14 – Manson, fighting major
MTL PEN – 13:14 – Souray, instigator + fighting major + misconduct

TOR – Joseph (W, 19-21)
MTL – Hackett (L, 15-19), Théodore (6-7)

TOR – 8+11+7 = 26
MTL – 5+6+10 = 21

TORGoaltenders: Glenn Healy, Curtis Joseph. Defence: Tomas Kaberle, Dave Manson, Danny Markov, Bryan McCabe (A), Petr Svoboda, Dmitri Yushkevich. Forwards: Nikolai Antropov, Sergei Berezin, Shayne Corson, Tie Domi, Jonas Hoglund, Igor Korolev, Adam Mair, Yanic Perreault, Gary Roberts (A), Mats Sundin (C), Darcy Tucker, Garry Valk.

MTLGoaltenders: Jeff Hackett, José Théodore. Defence: Patrice Brisebois, Francis Bouillon, Karl Dykhuis, Stéphane Robidas, Sheldon Souray, Eric Weinrich. Forwards: Andrei Bashkirov, Jim Campbell, Craig Darby, Chad Kilger, Saku Koivu (C), Éric Landry, Juha Lind, Trevor Linden, Gino Odjick, Oleg Petrov, Patrick Poulin, Brian Savage (A).

TOR – 18-10-4-3 (.614)
MTL – 10-22-4-0 (.333)


Sergei Berezin (TOR)
⭐⭐ Mats Sundin (TOR)
⭐⭐⭐ Tomas Kaberle (TOR)