Game 678 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 3 (SO)

Game 678
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 3 (SO)
Saturday, December 2, 2006
Centre Bell, Montréal, QC

Sheldon Souray used the threat of his intimidating slap shot to his advantage in a rare shootout appearance.

The Montréal defenceman delivered the shootout winner after teammate Saku Koivu netted two goals in the third period, lifting the Canadiens to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

Koivu and Toronto captain Mats Sundin both scored on each team’s second shot before Souray faked a drive, cut across the goalmouth, and put a shot over Andrew Raycroft.

“I would have shot it if I had seen something,” Souray said. “Really, the pressure is not on me. I think that if I had shot it, or even deked and been stopped, I don’t think anyone’s really expecting me to score.”

Cristobal Huet, who made 36 saves in regulation and overtime, stopped Kyle Wellwood on the Maple Leafs’ final shootout attempt, summoning a huge cheer from the sold-out crowd of 21,273.

Montréal coach Guy Carbonneau played a hunch in choosing Souray to follow Alex Kovalev and Koivu in the Canadiens’ latest shootout trio.

“I think he was counting on both Sak and Kovy to score, and Huey to shut the door, and I wouldn’t even get a chance,” Souray said.

Alexander Perezhogin also scored for Montréal, which lost 4-2 at Carolina on Thursday but has yet to drop two straight.

Sundin, Wellwood and Ian White scored for Toronto, which has lost four in a row.

“Nothing’s going easy for us right now, I don’t think there’s any question about that, but I liked the way we started the game,” Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. “I really liked most of the game. When you look at there’s 10:00 left in the game, the shots are about 33-15, we’re up 3-1 and we’re feeling good, and it could have been 4-1 or 5-1, but it wasn’t.”

Koivu tied it 3-3 with his second goal of the game on a power play with 4:36 left in regulation.

After Wellwood’s power-play goal early in the third put Toronto ahead 3-1, Koivu made a strong play in the goalmouth to score an unassisted goal at 11:17.

“It just seemed like we got more energy after that goal,” Koivu said.

Kovalev, whose double minor late in the second led to Wellwood’s goal, redeemed himself on Koivu’s tying goal at 15:24.

The Russian right wing held the puck on the right side before feeding a pass to Koivu, who redirected the puck past Raycroft.

“It’s a great building to play in,” Maurice said. “Every time they cross the line, the crowd’s in hysterics and then nothing happens, but you get the feeling that they’re coming a little bit more maybe than they are.”

White and Sundin gave Toronto a 2-0 lead as the Maple Leafs dominated the opening period, outshooting Montréal 13-5.

Huet withstood a flurry of chances early in the first, getting his right pad on Chad Kilger’s shot when the Maple Leafs forward swept in alone. He then covered up after stopping Wellwood’s backhand at 6:18 of the first.

Toronto took the first nine shots of the game before Aaron Downey put a harmless shot from the top of the left circle directly at Raycroft for Montréal’s first shot at 9:00.

White opened the scoring at 9:56 when he took Michael Peca’s pass while driving the slot and put a shot into the right side of an open net for his second goal of the season.

Sundin made it 2-0 at 12:09 with a strong effort for his fifth goal. He took Nik Antropov’s pass before going wide down the left side and sweeping by Canadiens defenceman Craig Rivet to tuck a shot past Huet into the top left corner.

Alexander Perezhogin finished off a 3-on-1 midway through the second to draw the Canadiens within 2-1.

Wellwood restored Toronto’s two-goal lead with a power-play goal 2:21 into the third as Montréal was killing the second of two minors to Kovalev, who had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty added after he was called for hooking with 13 seconds remaining in the second.

NOTES: Maple Leafs C Darcy Tucker was dropped by Francis Bouillon’s punch after he tried to goad the Canadiens defenceman into a fight late in the first. Tucker had already been called for charging at 17:50 when he started shoving Bouillon in the corner. Both players were given roughing penalties…Rivet left the game in the second because of an arm injury. He didn’t return…Montréal has sold out 72 consecutive regular-season games.

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BOXSCORE
1st Period
MTL PEN – 00:14 – Rivet, hooking
TOR GOAL – 09:56 – White (Peca, Battaglia)
TOR GOAL – 12:09 – Sundin (Antropov, Bell)
TOR PEN – 15:29 – Battaglia, holding
TOR PEN – 17:50 – Tucker, charging / roughing double minor
MTL PEN – 17:50 – Bouillon, roughing
MTL PEN – 19:28 – Latendresse, high sticking

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 03:12 – Downey, misconduct
TOR PEN – 05:33 – Gill, hooking
MTL GOAL – 09:19 – Perezhogin (Latendresse, Dandenault)
MTL PEN – 16:35 – Markov, hooking
MTL PEN – 19:47 – Kovalev, hooking / unsportsmanlike conduct double minor

3rd Period
TOR PP GOAL – 02:21 – Wellwood (McCabe, Kaberle)
MTL PEN – 08:00 – Komisarek, interference
MTL GOAL – 11:17 – Koivu (Latendresse)
TOR PEN – 14:46 – White, delay of game
MTL PP GOAL – 15:24 – Koivu (Kovalev, Markov)

Overtime
TOR PEN – 05:00 – McCabe, holding

Shootout
MTL SAVE – Kovalev
TOR SAVE – Kaberle
MTL GOAL – Koivu
TOR GOAL – Sundin
MTL GOAL – Souray
TOR MISS – Wellwood

GOALTENDERS
MTL – Huet (W, 36-39)
TOR – Raycroft (OTL, 19-22)

SHOTS ON GOAL
MTL – 5+7+9+1 = 22
TOR – 13+7+16+3 = 39

ROSTERS
MTLGoaltenders: David Aebischer, Cristobal Huet. Defence: Francis Bouillon, Mathieu Dandenault, Mike Komisarek, Andrei Markov, Craig Rivet (A), Sheldon Souray (A). Forwards: Steve Bégin, Radek Bonk, Aaron Downey, Mike Johnson, Saku Koivu (C), Alex Kovalev, Guillaume Latendresse, Garth Murray, Alexander Perezhogin, Tomas Plekanec, Michael Ryder, Sergei Samsonov.
TORGoaltenders: Jean-Sébastien Aubin, Andrew Raycroft. Defence: Brendan Bell, Hal Gill, Tomas Kaberle (A), Pavel Kubina, Bryan McCabe (A), Ian White. Forwards: Nikolai Antropov, Bates Battaglia, Chad Kilger, Jeff O’Neill, Michael Peca, John Pohl, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Matt Stajan, Alexander Steen, Mats Sundin (C), Darcy Tucker, Kyle Wellwood.

ATTENDANCE
21,273

THREE STARS
Saku Koivu (MTL)
⭐⭐ Cristobal Huet (MTL)
⭐⭐⭐ Sheldon Souray (MTL)