Preseason Game 57 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2

Preseason Game 57
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario

Ilya Mikheyev scored 33 seconds into the first period, and Morgan Rielly had a goal and two assists for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 4-2 win against the Montréal Canadiens in an exhibition game at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday.

Mikheyev was playing for the first time since having surgery to repair an artery and severed tendons in his wrist on December 28. The left wing, who scored four goals in his final six games before the surgery, was playing on the second line with Maple Leafs captain John Tavares, who thought the rookie picked up right where he left off.

“Just his passion for the game, his commitment level, his work ethic, we’ve talked about it throughout (training) camp,” Tavares said. “I think everyone’s seen just the way he can play the game and the work he puts in to perform at a high level. I think there’s so much room to grow for him. He’s just scratching the surface.”

Rielly, who fractured his foot January 12 and missed 23 games, played Toronto’s final game before the NHL season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. He scored a shorthanded goal on his own rebound to make it 4-2 at 9:39 of the third period after Paul Byron had cut it to 3-2 for Montréal at 8:07.

“I think that a break like that, players just had a chance to do what they needed to for their body,” Rielly said. “I don’t think I was any different. I think you try to prepare over the course of the last two months or so and I think a preseason game like this, you don’t put too much weight into it. You just try to go out there and work hard…I think we all felt OK.”

Alexander Kerfoot scored two goals, and Frederik Andersen made 28 saves for the Maple Leafs, who will play Game 1 of their best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifier series against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city, on Sunday.

Nicholas Robertson, an 18-year-old attempting to earn a spot in the Maple Leafs lineup, had an assist.

“We’re going to continue to digest all of this here over the next few days,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “I wouldn’t make any assumptions on (Robertson) or any of the other positions in our lineup just because we haven’t made the decisions ourselves.”

Carey Price made 19 saves for the Canadiens, who allowed a 2-on-1 on their first shift leading to Mikheyev’s goal and gave up a shorthanded rush to Kasperi Kapanen resulting in a goal for Kerfoot in the second period.

Montréal coach Claude Julien said he found positives from the game but that the Canadiens need to play more consistently aggressive if they are to compete with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Qualifiers. Game 1 of that best-of-5 series is Saturday.

“I’m going to be honest with you, you could definitely see some rust in our team because there’s not a ton of players there that had high notes tonight,” Julien said. “But hopefully enough of a game today to get the rust out and make sure we’re ready to go come Saturday.”

Tomas Tatar scored for the Canadiens, who outshot the Maple Leafs 30-23 and held Auston Matthews, Mitchell Marner and William Nylander without a point.

Montréal forward Brendan Gallagher said he thought those positives weren’t enough to overcome failing to adjust to the increased tempo Tuesday, including surrendering two shorthanded goals while going 0-for-6 on the power play.

“We’re probably all guilty of it tonight. The pace of the game was faster, everything happened a little quicker,” Gallagher said. “The brain wasn’t keeping up to the pace of the play. We know what we have to do to be successful. Hopefully it’s something we can learn from.”

“A lot of sloppiness, maybe trying to make plays that weren’t there. Going into the (Penguins) series, we know how high-powered their offence is and how smart we’re going to have to play, so we definitely need to improve on that.”

Story property of NHL, photo property of The Globe & Mail

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 00:33 – Mikheyev (Tavares, Rielly)

MTL PEN – 05:09 – Weal, slashing
TOR PEN – 10:34 – Robertson, holding
MTL PEN – 19:54 – Petry, hooking

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 02:27 – Gallagher, high sticking
TOR PEN – 06:23 – Ceci, hooking
TOR SH GOAL – 06:46 – Kerfoot (Kapanen)
TOR PEN – 14:50 – Mikheyev, hooking
MTL GOAL – 16:56 – Tatar (Suzuki, Gallagher)
TOR GOAL – 19:35 – Kerfoot (Rielly, Robertson)

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 08:07 – Byron (Chiarot, Kotkaniemi)
TOR PEN – 08:46 – Holl, cross checking
TOR SH GOAL – 09:39 – Rielly (Hyman)
TOR PEN – 14:06 – Ceci, interference
TOR PEN – 16:30 – Dermott, hooking

TOR – Andersen (W, 28-30)
MTL – Price (L, 19-23)

TOR – 9+8+6 = 23
MTL – 9+9+12 = 30

TORGoaltenders: Frederik Andersen, Jack Campbell. Defence: Tyson Barrie, Cody Ceci, Travis Dermott, Justin Holl, Martin Marincin, Jake Muzzin, Morgan Rielly (A)
. Forwards: Kyle Clifford, Pierre Engvall, Frédérik Gauthier, Zach Hyman, Kasperi Kapanen, Alexander Kerfoot, Mitchell Marner (A), Auston Matthews, Ilya Mikheyev, William Nylander, Nicholas Robertson, Jason Spezza, John Tavares (C).
MTLGoaltenders: Charlie Lindgren, Carey Price. Defence: Ben Chiarot, Cale Fleury, Brett Kulak, Victor Mete, Xavier Ouellet, Jeff Petry, Shea Weber (C). Forwards: Joel Armia, Alex Belzile, Paul Byron (A), Phillip Danault, Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin, Brendan Gallagher (A), Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Artturi Lehkonen, Nick Suzuki, Tomas Tatar, Jordan Weal, Dale Weise.