Game 668 – Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2

Game 668
Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Centre Bell, Montréal, QC

If signing Eric Lindros was a gamble, it’s paying off nicely so far for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Lindros scored twice, including one of Toronto’s two power-play goals, leading the Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the Montréal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Lindros, who signed with Toronto as a free agent on August 11 to play with his hometown team, scored the Maple Leafs’ league-leading 15th power-play goal 7:42 into the second to put Toronto up 2-1.

“He’s showing a responsibility and an accountability that we were hoping we’d get, but you never know, and he’s showing it right now,” Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said.

Canadiens rookie Tomas Plekanec scored his first NHL goal 5:33 into the third period to tie it at 2 before Lindros put Toronto back ahead with his fifth of the season, scoring an even-strength goal from the slot at 12:16.

Ed Belfour made 29 saves to win his second start in as many nights. Belfour was 0-1-2 through his first three games, including a 5-4 loss to the Canadiens a week earlier.

The Maple Leafs improved to 3-1-2 overall.

“We’re a little bit above .500 now,” Lindros said. “We’ll keep at it.”

Toronto’s Jason Allison also scored with the man advantage, one night after the Maple Leafs scored a franchise-record seven power-play goals in a 9-1 win at Atlanta.

“Each of their units got the goals, so they’re effective,” Canadiens captain Saku Koivu said.

Allison scored his second of the season 15:04 into the first to tie it at 1 after Alexei Kovalev opened the scoring with his first goal at 8:52, also on the power play.

Montréal, 4-0 on the road including a 2-0 win in Atlanta on Tuesday night, lost its second straight at the Bell Centre.

Lindros, who had one of the Leafs’ power-play goals Friday, scored his fourth of the season in the second, 1:18 after Montréal was called for too many men. Kyle Wellwood stripped the puck from Canadiens centre Steve Bégin in the Montréal zone and passed to Lindros, who beat José Théodore with a shot to the top right corner.

“He’s a strong man, tough to maintain down low,” Koivu said.

Plekanec brought the sellout crowd to its feet early in the third. After dumping the puck behind the Toronto net, Plekanec stepped into Mike Ribeiro’s return backhand pass to drive a slap shot off Belfour’s left shoulder and into the top right corner of the net.

“It was a nice goal by Plekanec and then we tried to hang on so that we’d be able to come back,” Ribeiro said.

After Lindros’ second of the game put Toronto up 3-2, Montréal applied pressure to the very end, including a power-play over the final 25.7 seconds.

NOTES: Former Canadiens greats Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, Dickie Moore and Yvan Cournoyer were introduced to the crowd prior to the game. Earlier in the day, the team announced it would retire their numbers later this season. Quinn hugged Geoffrion, his coach with the Atlanta Flames from their inaugural 1972-73 season until Geoffrion was fired midway through the 1974-75 campaign. “He’s touched a lot of people in a lot of better ways than just by being a great player,” Quinn said. “He’s a great person.” … The Canadiens have had capacity crowds of 21,273 for each of their first two home games.

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BOXSCORE
1st Period
TOR PEN – 03:26 – Allison, hooking
TOR PEN – 08:19 – Wilm, charging
MTL PP GOAL – 08:52 – Kovalev (Perezhogin)
MTL PEN – 14:11 – Dandenault, hooking
TOR PP GOAL – 15:04 – Allison (O’Neill, Tucker)

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 03:04 – Souray, high sticking
MTL PEN – 06:24 – team, too many men on the ice
TOR PP GOAL – 07:42 – Lindros (Wellwood, Steen)
TOR PEN – 09:09 – Khavanov, holding
MTL PEN – 14:14 – Bégin, interference
TOR PEN – 18:38 – Tucker, hooking

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 05:33 – Plekanec (Ribeiro, Ryder)
TOR PEN – 06:11 – Stajan, interference
TOR GOAL – 12:16 – Lindros (Steen, Domi)
TOR PEN – 13:50 – Klee, holding
TOR PEN – 19:34 – McCabe, roughing

GOALTENDERS
TOR – Belfour (W, 29-31)
MTL – Théodore (L, 18-21)

SHOTS ON GOAL
TOR – 9+7+5 = 21
MTL – 9+8+14 = 31

ROSTERS
TORGoaltenders: Ed Belfour, Mikael Tellqvist. Defence: Wade Belak, Aki Berg, Tomas Kaberle (A), Alexander Khavanov, Ken Klee, Bryan McCabe (A). Forwards: Jason Allison, Nikolai Antropov, Mariusz Czerkawski, Tie Domi, Eric Lindros, Jeff O’Neill, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Matt Stajan, Alexander Steen, Darcy Tucker, Kyle Wellwood, Clarke Wilm.
MTLGoaltenders: Yann Danis, José Théodore. Defence: Francis Bouillon, Mathieu Dandenault, Mike Komisarek, Andrei Markov, Craig Rivet (A), Sheldon Souray. Forwards: Steve Bégin, Radek Bonk, Jan Bulis, Pierre Dagenais, Christopher Higgins, Saku Koivu (C), Alex Kovalev, Alexander Perezhogin, Tomas Plekanec, Mike Ribeiro, Michael Ryder, Niklas Sundstrom.

ATTENDANCE
21,273

THREE STARS
Eric Lindros (TOR)
⭐⭐ Andrei Markov (MTL)
⭐⭐⭐ Tomas Plekanec (MTL)