Game 679 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 1

Game 679
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 1
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Montréal defenceman Sheldon Souray still thinks the Canadiens are better than the Toronto Maple Leafs, despite another loss to their rivals.

Defenceman Pavel Kubina scored twice to lead the Maple Leafs to a 4-1 victory over the Canadiens on Saturday night.

“I would definitely say that team over there is not better than us over the last 50 games,” Souray said. “We’ve shown that we are a better team than them. Every time we play them they get emotionally ready. They pick their game up another gear or two and we don’t match it.”

Mats Sundin and Jeff O’Neill also scored power-play goals for the Maple Leafs, who are 3-0-2 against their Original Six rival. The game was broadcast across Canada on CBC’s “Hockey Night in Canada.”

Souray said they failed to stay out of the penalty box and make Toronto’s defence work.

“All the things we wanted to do we didn’t do any of them,” Souray said. “I think it’s a lack of commitment and desire.”

Tomas Plekanec scored for the Canadiens, who entered the day with the fourth best penalty kill percentage in the league.

Toronto went 3-for-4 on the power play. The Maple Leafs ended a three-game losing skid at home where they ranked 30th in the league with the man advantage.

“They grabbed the momentum from us with those three power-play goals,” Montréal captain Saku Koivu said. “They do play well against us. It seems that their style is tough for us.”

Sundin said they enjoy playing Montréal.

“They are fun games to play. You can tell there is always a different atmosphere in the building when you play Montréal whether it’s here or in Montréal,” Sundin said. “For some reason we play better. Same in Buffalo. We win there. We have a lot of Leaf fans there and it’s exciting.”

Kubina, who signed a four-year, $20 million contract in the offseason, scored just his third and fourth goals of the season. He gave Toronto a 1-0 lead at 13:29 of the first with a shot from just inside the blue line. His slap shot in the third made it 4-1.

“It’s always a lot of pressure,” Kubina said of playing in hockey-mad Toronto. “You want to do your best. Somehow you got to control the pressure. I don’t mind it. It’s good for me. It pushes me.”

Sundin, Toronto’s captain, scored for the first time in nine games. He gave Toronto a 3-1 lead at 17:18 of the second with a slapshot from the faceoff circle.

O’Neill scored his 17th goal of the season with a shot from blue line at 14:48 of the first. Before the game, Toronto coach Paul Maurice said he needed to finish with at least 35 goals to help the Leafs make the playoffs.

Plekanec’s shot from the faceoff circle beat goalie Andrew Raycroft, cutting it to 2-1 at 6:06 of the second.

The Canadiens have lost six of eight on the road.

NOTES: Sundin has 1,210 career points, tying him with Bobby Clarke for 38th on the all-time list…The teams play three more games against each other…Three of the previous four games went to shootout…The Leafs now go on a season-high five-game road trip…Toronto’s John Pohl hit the post in the second period…The American Hockey League All-Star game is Monday night in Toronto. The Marlies, Toronto’s AHL affiliate, have struggled at the gate. Many tickets are available for Monday’s game.

Story property of

1st Period
MTL PEN – 11:41 – Latendresse, hooking
TOR PP GOAL – 13:29 – Kubina (Steen, Stajan)
MTL PEN – 14:37 – Higgins, holding
TOR PP GOAL – 14:48 – O’Neill (Kubina, Colaiacovo)
TOR PEN – 14:58 – Stajan, tripping

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 02:11 – Plekanec, hooking
TOR PEN – 04:23 – Battaglia, interference
MTL PP GOAL – 06:06 – Plekanec (Rivet)
TOR PEN – 11:56 – Devereaux, holding
TOR PEN – 14:24 – Ponikarovsky, unsportsmanlike conduct
MTL PEN – 14:24 – Lapierre, roughing
TOR PEN – 14:24 – McCabe, roughing
MTL PEN – 14:24 – Dandenault, roughing
TOR PEN – 14:24 – Green, interference
MTL PEN – 15:21 – Souray, boarding
TOR PP GOAL – 17:18 – Sundin (Kaberle, McCabe)
MTL PEN – 18:12 – Souray, roughing
TOR PEN – 18:12 – Gill, roughing

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 03:29 – Kubina (Stajan, O’Neill)
TOR PEN – 09:11 – Kubina, holding
TOR PEN – 13:00 – McCabe, interference
TOR PEN – 16:11 – Gill, tripping

TOR – Raycroft (W, 27-28)
MTL – Huet (L, 25-29)

TOR – 11+12+6 = 29
MTL – 9+5+14 = 28

TOR Goaltenders: Jean-Sébastien Aubin, Andrew Raycroft. Defence: Wade Belak, Brendan Bell, Carlo Colaiacovo, Hal Gill, Tomas Kaberle (A), Pavel Kubina, Bryan McCabe (A). Forwards: Nikolai Antropov, Bates Battaglia, Boyd Devereaux, Travis Green, Chad Kilger, Jeff O’Neill, John Pohl, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Matt Stajan, Alexander Steen, Mats Sundin (C).
MTLGoaltenders: David Aebischer, Cristobal Huet. Defence: Francis Bouillon, Mathieu Dandenault, Mike Komisarek, Andrei Markov, Craig Rivet (A), Sheldon Souray (A), Mark Streit. Forwards: Radek Bonk, Christopher Higgins, Mike Johnson, Saku Koivu (C), Alex Kovalev, Guillaume Latendresse, Maxim Lapierre, Alexander Perezhogin, Tomas Plekanec, Michael Ryder, Sergei Samsonov.

TOR – 23-21-6 (.520)
MTL – 27-18-5 (.590)


Pavel Kubina (TOR)
⭐⭐ Jeff O’Neill (TOR)
⭐⭐⭐ Andrew Raycroft (TOR)