Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 4 (SO)
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Centre Bell, Montréal, Québec
The Toronto Maple Leafs are playing play well enough to get one point. The Montréal Canadiens keep finding a way to get two.
The Habs blew a two-goal lead in the final minutes of regulation, but Mike Cammalleri and Scott Gomez scored in a shootout as the Canadiens beat the Leafs 5-4 on Saturday night.
With the Canadiens dressed in the red, white and blue-striped uniforms worn by their predecessors in 1912-13, the game was perfect for Halloween — complete with odd bounces and strange-looking goals.
Toronto overcame a 4-2 deficit to force overtime when Alexei Ponikarovsky got his second of the night at 16:32 and Tomas Kaberle pinballed a shot off two Montréal defencemen and into the net with 54 seconds remaining in regulation. It was Kaberle’s fourth point of the night.
But after a scoreless overtime, Cammalleri and Gomez both beat Vesa Toskala with wrist shots over his glove, while Jaroslav Halak stopped Lee Stempniak and Kaberle. Montréal evened its record at 7-7-0, with six of the wins coming in OT or shootouts.
“Our fans like OT and shootouts I guess,” Cammalleri said. “We didn’t want to give them those two goals.
“The fans were singing ‘Na Na (Goodbye)’ and were ready to go out and enjoy their Saturday night. We’d have liked to hold them off, but the big thing was to get the win.”
The Leafs (1-7-4) finished a five-game trip with a 1-1-3 record, losing in overtime at Dallas and Buffalo before dropping the shootout to the Canadiens. Toronto has a point in both meetings with Montréal this season — the Leafs also lost in OT on opening night at home.
“I could throw out all the clichés, but we still have to find a way to win,” Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. “Which cliché do you want? We never say die, blah, blah blah? We still need to win.”
The usual Bell Centre sellout crowd of 21,273 spent most of the night booing former Canadien defenceman Mike Komisarek, who signed with the Leafs during the summer as a free agent. Komisarek took a pair of minor penalties and was minus-2.
“That was a rivalry game,” said Cammalleri, a Toronto native who signed with Montréal as a free agent in July. “There was no love lost.”
After a scoreless first period, the Leafs did something they hadn’t done all season — get the game’s first goal.
Toronto needed only 10 seconds of a power play to open the scoring. Ponikarovsky battled for position in the slot and was in the right spot to fire home the rebound of Kaberle’s shot at 1:12.
The lead lasted all of 75 seconds. Travis Moen forced a turnover in the right circle and fed Glen Metropolit, who flung the puck at the net from the goal line to the left of Toskala. The puck appeared to hit Komisarek, deflected off Toskala and went into the net at 2:27.
Guillaume Latendresse put the Canadiens ahead to stay, knocking home a rebound at 12:27, and Hal Gill beat Toskala with a slap shot at 14:52 for a two-goal lead.
Stempniak cut the deficit back to one with a power-play goal at 15:16, but the Canadiens appeared to put the game away when Roman Hamrlik, standing at the left post, accidentally deflected a shot by Scott Gomez into the net at 9:50 of the third.
But as they did the night before, when they scored in the final minute or regulation to force OT, the Leafs wouldn’t go quietly. Ponikarovsky took a brilliant pass by Ian White and beat Halak to the short side from the lower left circle with 3:28 remaining. Toronto continued to press and was rewarded when Kaberle threw the puck at the net from the right point and saw it pinball off Hamrlik and Jaroslav Spacek before slipping past Halak.
“He’s doing a great job,” Wilson said of Kaberle, who had 13 points on the five-game trip. “He’s picking up points by the bushel on the power play, which has been pretty good.”
Toskala saved the Leafs in the final minute of overtime when he slid from right to left to get a piece of a one-timer from the right circle by Gomez after Latendresse set him up on a 2-on-1 break.
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TOR PEN – 06:58 – Kaberle, hooking
TOR PEN – 10:14 – Schenn, interference
TOR PEN – 11:00 – Exelby, roughing
MTL PEN – 11:00 – Cammalleri, cross checking
MTL PEN – 16:36 – Spacek, holding
TOR PEN – 19:20 – Komisarek, clipping
MTL PEN – 19:20 – Stewart, roughing
MTL PEN – 01:02 – Bergeron, interference
TOR PP GOAL – 01:12 – Ponikarovsky (Kaberle, Grabovski)
MTL GOAL – 02:27 – Metropolit (Moen)
MTL PEN – 03:41 – Chipchura, roughing
MTL PEN – 04:54 – Hamrlik, delay of game
MTL PEN – 08:26 – Cammalleri, roughing
MTL GOAL – 12:24 – Latendresse (Plekanec, Lapierre)
TOR PEN – 12:48 – Mitchell, holding
MTL GOAL – 14:52 – Gill (Gorges, Plekanec)
TOR PEN – 14:52 – Beauchemin, roughing
MTL PEN – 14:52 – Gorges, roughing
MTL PEN – 14:52 – Gill, roughing
TOR PP GOAL – 15:16 – Stempniak (Kaberle, Grabovski)
MTL PEN – 01:09 – Gill, delay of game
TOR PEN – 07:42 – Komisarek, cross checking
MTL GOAL – 09:50 – Hamrlik (Gomez, Gionta)
TOR GOAL – 16:32 – Ponikarovsky (White, Kaberle)
TOR GOAL – 19:06 – Kaberle (Grabovski, Blake)
MTL GOAL – Cammalleri
TOR SAVE – Stempniak
MTL GOAL – Gomez
TOR SAVE – Kaberle
MTL – Halak (W, 26-30)
TOR – Toskala (OTL, 35-39)
SHOTS ON GOAL
MTL – 12+12+11+4 = 39
TOR – 5+14+10+1 = 30
MTL – Goaltenders: Jaroslav Halak, Carey Price. Defence: Marc-André Bergeron, Hal Gill (A), Josh Gorges, Roman Hamrlik, Paul Mara, Jaroslav Spacek. Forwards: Michael Cammalleri (A), Kyle Chipchura, Brian Gionta (A), Scott Gomez, Andrei Kostitsyn, Maxim Lapierre, Guillaume Latendresse, Glen Metropolit, Travis Moen, Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, Gregory Stewart.
TOR – Goaltenders: Jonas Gustavsson, Vesa Toskala. Defence: François Beauchemin (A), Garnet Exelby, Tomas Kaberle (A), Mike Komisarek (A), Luke Schenn, Ian White. Forwards: Jason Blake, Mikhail Grabovski, Niklas Hagman, Nikolai Kulemin, John Mitchell, Colton Orr, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Wayne Primeau, Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak, Jiri Tlusty, Rickard Wallin.
MTL – 7-7-0 (.500)
TOR – 1-7-4 (.250)
⭐ Tomas Kaberle (TOR)
⭐⭐ Tomas Plekanec (MTL)
⭐⭐⭐ Michael Cammalleri (MTL)