Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Centre Bell, Montréal, Québec
The Montréal Canadiens are more focused on keeping alive their slim hopes of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs than tying their longest winning streak against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Max Pacioretty scored two goals, and Mike Condon made 31 saves to give Montréal a 4-1 win against Toronto at Bell Centre on Saturday.
Alex Galchenyuk and Devante Smith-Pelly scored for the Canadiens (30-27-5), who swept the four-game season series against the Maple Leafs.
Montréal has 65 points, five behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens, who begin a four-game road trip at the San Jose Sharks on Monday, are 3-0-1 in their past four, including a 4-3 win at the League-leading Washington Capitals on Wednesday.
“We’ve just got to string together some games here, and we’ve done that the last four, getting some points, and we’ve just got to keep it rolling, and the challenge will only get harder as we head out to the west,” Condon said.
The Canadiens extended their winning streak against the Maple Leafs to 10 games, matching their longest streak in the 99-year history of the NHL’s oldest rivalry. Montréal won 10 consecutive games against Toronto from January 2 to November 12, 1958.
“I’d much rather it be the longest winning streak between two teams battling for first place, but I guess that’s an interesting stat,” said Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban, who got his team-leading 42nd assist on Pacioretty’s first goal.
The Maple Leafs, who have not defeated the Canadiens since January 18, 2014, have the longest winning streak over the course of the rivalry, a 12-game streak from December 9, 1939 to January 23, 1941.
Matt Hunwick scored and Jonathan Bernier made 31 saves for Toronto (21-29-10), which traded goalie James Reimer and forward Jeremy Morin to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
“(Reimer)’s a good man,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “He practiced hard and worked hard, and I thought he had a good year for us. I mean, it hadn’t been quite as good lately, but he had done a real nice job for us, but obviously a team in transition like us, I don’t think anything surprises you.
“We’re in a position of trying to improve as we move ahead and (Reimer) is going to be a free agent this summer, we all know that. He’ll be on the market, available for us, just like he will be for everyone else. We have a good relationship, understand what that process is all about; he’ll have to see where he fits.”
Hunwick scored in his return to the lineup after missing four games because of a lower-body injury. He gave Toronto a 1-0 lead at 5:29 of the first period when he drove to the net to score his second goal in 54 games after Condon gave up a big rebound on a right pad save of Brendan Leipsic’s shot from the right side.
Toronto right wing P.A. Parenteau left at 10:55 of the first after his fifth shift because of an upper-body injury. Parenteau, who did not return, has been the subject of trade rumours leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday.
“I feel OK,” Parenteau said. “It’s something that happened (Friday) morning right before I went on the ice, kind of a soreness in my neck, kind of a spasm. It came back during the game early so it was better for me to get off the ice.”
Maple Leafs centre Byron Froese sustained a broken hand when he blocked a Subban slap shot during a Montréal power play at 13:10 of the second period.
“PA (Friday) had a tough day, then today the trainers and him said he was playing and obviously that didn’t help us,” Babcock said. “Then when (Froese) broke his hand, that really hurt us. The bottom line is we were in the game, it was 2-1 going into the third, we were set up to have success. Pacioretty made a real nice play pushing off Morgan Rielly for the one goal and I thought that was kind of the dagger right there.”
Forward Phillip Danault made his Canadiens debut after he was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks, along with a second-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, in a trade for forwards Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann on Friday.
“Really impressed,” Subban said. “He’s played around winners so he’s bringing that winning mentality and the way he played today, I mean, he came in and did a really good job. It looked like he’s been playing here for a while.”
Galchenyuk scored his third goal in two games when he beat Bernier with a rising wrist shot from the right side to tie it at 1-1 at 7:01 of the first.
Babcock lost his coach’s challenge when the referee ruled that Montréal centre Lars Eller did not interfere with Bernier on the goal.
Canadiens rookie forward Michael McCarron, who was recalled from St. John’s of the American Hockey League on Friday, got his first point in three NHL games with an assist on Smith-Pelly’s goal, which made it 2-1 at 10:39 of the second.
The referees waved off a goal by Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher at 2:49 of the second. A video review upheld their ruling that Gallagher made contact with the puck above the level of the crossbar when he batted it into the net.
Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov extended his point streak to five games with an assist on Pacioretty’s 22nd goal of the season at 6:23 of the third period.
Pacioretty made it 4-1 with his second goal in 1:44 at 8:07 of the third. The Canadiens captain had an opportunity for a third goal on a breakaway but Bernier stopped him with 11:41 remaining.
TOR GOAL – 05:29 – Hunwick (Leipsic, Boyes)
MTL GOAL – 07:01 – Galchenyuk (Andrighetto, Eller)
MTL PEN – 18:17 – Pacioretty, tripping
TOR PEN – 02:02 – Winnik, hooking
MTL GOAL – 10:39 – Smith-Pelly (McCarron, Emelin)
TOR PEN – 12:29 – team, too many men on the ice
TOR PEN – 16:04 – Gardiner, cross checking
MTL PEN – 02:22 – Subban, unsportsmanlike conduct
MTL GOAL – 06:23 – Pacioretty (Markov, Subban)
MTL GOAL – 08:07 – Pacioretty (Pateryn, Plekanec)
TOR PEN – 16:14 – Marincin, holding
MTL – Condon (W, 31-32)
TOR – Bernier (L, 32-36)
SHOTS ON GOAL
MTL – 8+19+9 = 36
TOR – 8+14+10 = 32
MTL – Goaltenders: Mike Condon, Ben Scrivens. Defence: Mark Barberio, Victor Bartley, Alexei Emelin, Andrei Markov, Greg Pateryn, P.K. Subban (A). Forwards: Sven Andrighetto, Paul Byron, Phillip Danault, Jacob de la Rose, Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Michael McCarron, Torrey Mitchell, Max Pacioretty (C), Tomas Plekanec (A), Devante Smith-Pelly.
TOR – Goaltenders: Jonathan Bernier, Garret Sparks. Defence: Frank Corrado, Jake Gardiner, Matt Hunwick (A), Martin Marincin, Stuart Percy, Morgan Rielly. Forwards: Mark Arcobello, Brad Boyes, Byron Froese, Michael Grabner, Colin Greening, Peter Holland, Nazem Kadri, Leo Komarov (A), Brendan Leipsic, Josh Leivo, P.A. Parenteau (A), Daniel Winnik.
⭐ Mike Condon (MTL)
⭐⭐ Max Pacioretty (MTL)
⭐⭐⭐ Lars Eller (MTL)