Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 2
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario
Auston Matthews scored his 40th goal of the season for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 5-2 win against the Montréal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday.
Matthews made it 5-2 with 4:19 left in the third period when he took a drop pass from Mitchell Marner at the left face-off dot.
“I think experience is a big thing, going into each game you have more confidence,” Matthews said. “I play with some really good players and have been fortunate to have really good teams in my five years here. Every year I just try to get better and better and push for more.”
John Tavares and Marner each had a goal and an assist, and Jack Campbell made 19 saves for the Maple Leafs (34-13-6), who are 6-0-1 in their past seven games and are first in the Scotia North Division.
“I didn’t really have a whole lot of action,” Campbell said. “The boys just carried the play and stuck to the game plan the whole 60 minutes. It’s just a lot of fun to be a part of this team. The group of guys we have, the character and the coaching staff, it really is just a great group and we’re really jelling.”
Cole Caulfield scored his third NHL goal for the Canadiens (24-20-9), who lost 5-1 to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.
Cayden Primeau started but was pulled after allowing four goals on 15 shots in the first period. Jake Allen made 19 saves in relief.
“I talked to him in the dressing room quick, just me and him,” Allen said of Primeau. “It’s a bump in the road for him. I can tell how good a goalie he is and how good a kid he is. Once Carey Price’s legacy goes, Cayden is going to be the guy here. You have to fail to succeed in this league, especially as a goalie. I’m sure he’s going to take it hard, as all young guys do, I would have done the same thing. But he’s going to move on and be ready to go for us, we’re going to need him again.”
The teams play again here Saturday. The Canadiens lead the Calgary Flames by 10 points for the final playoff berth in the North Division; Calgary has two games in hand. The Vancouver Canucks trail Montréal by 16 points and hold five games in hand.
Montréal could have clinched a playoff berth win a win and a win by the Edmonton Oilers against the Canucks.
Alex Galchenyuk gave Toronto a 1-0 lead 16 seconds into the first period with a backhand from the slot. Tavares made it 2-0 at 3:24 when he put in a rebound of Jake Muzzin’s shot at the side of the crease.
The Maple Leafs led 3-0 at 10:38 after Pierre Engvall put in his rebound from just above the goal line below the left face-off circle.
Marner made it 4-0 at 17:21 when he took a pass from Joe Thornton, who was positioned along the boards inside the blue line. The assist extended Thornton’s point streak to seven games (two goals, five assists).
“That first period was just the guys buzzing,” Campbell said. “Right out of the gate we had a great start, and I love seeing that. Obviously it gives the team a ton of confidence. You need a good start like that to beat Montréal.”
Caufield cut the lead to 4-1 at 13:30 of the second period with his first NHL goal not scored in overtime (seven games). Artturi Lehkonen made it 4-2 at 3:04 of the third period.
“They jumped all over us,” Canadiens defencemen Ben Chiarot said. “We were slow out of the gate and they came out pretty quick and we spotted them a couple of goals. It’s an uphill battle from there, and on a back-to-back situation, that’s not easy. That wasn’t Primeau’s fault, it’s our fault, we were flat in front of him and didn’t give him any help. Young goalie going in (21 years old), we have to be sharp early on and let him find his groove.”
Matthews has a five-game goal streak; he has played 49 games this season. He scored 47 goals in 70 games last season and 40 in 82 games as a rookie in 2016-17.
“It’s incredible, he makes it look so easy,” Tavares said. “It’s unreal to watch and it’s a testament to him and his work ethic. His skill set is exceptional, one of the best in the game. He should be celebrated and he deserves all that recognition. At this level, in this league, it’s extremely hard to score, so to do it as often as he does, as consistent as he is, it’s extremely impressive.”
NOTES: Frank Mahovlich scored 40 goals in 48 games in 1960-61 to hold the Toronto record…Campbell is 16-2-2, the most wins through 20 games in Maple Leafs history. George Hainsworth won 15 of his first 20 in 1934-35…Marner has an assist on 25 of Matthews’ 40 goals…Canadiens centre Phillip Danault left the game midway through the first period with an undisclosed injury.
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TOR GOAL – 00:15 – Galchenyuk (Nylander, Tavares)
TOR GOAL – 03:24 – Tavares (Muzzin)
MTL PEN – 05:18 – Evans, tripping
TOR GOAL – 10:38 – Engvall (Spezza, Brodie)
TOR GOAL – 17:23 – Marner (Thornton, Sandin)
TOR PEN – 19:47 – Engvall, interference
MTL PEN – 09:45 – Edmundson, cross checking
MTL GOAL – 13:30 – Caufield (Perry, Staal)
TOR PEN – 15:02 – Brodie, hooking
MTL GOAL – 03:04 – Lehkonen (Toffoli, Petry)
TOR PEN – 04:55 – Galchenyuk, high sticking
TOR GOAL – 15:41 – Matthews (Marner, Muzzin)
MTL PEN – 17:25 – Perry, roughing
MTL PEN – 17:25 – Caufield, tripping
TOR – Campbell (W, 19-21)
MTL – Primeau (L, 11-15), Allen (19-20)
SHOTS ON GOAL
TOR – 15+10+10 = 35
MTL – 9+5+7 = 21
TOR – Goaltenders: Jack Campbell, David Rittich. Defence: T.J. Brodie, Travis Dermott, Justin Holl, Jake Muzzin, Morgan Rielly (A), Rasmus Sandin. Forwards: Pierre Engvall, Alex Galchenyuk, Alexander Kerfoot, Mitchell Marner (A), Auston Matthews, Ilya Mikheyev, Stefan Noesen, William Nylander, Wayne Simmonds, Jason Spezza, John Tavares (C), Joe Thornton.
MTL – Goaltenders: Jake Allen, Cayden Primeau. Defence: Ben Chiarot, Joel Edmundson, Brett Kulak, Jon Merrill, Jeff Petry (A), Alexander Romanov. Forwards: Josh Anderson, Joel Armia, Cole Caufield, Phillip Danault, Jake Evans, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Artturi Lehkonen, Corey Perry, Eric Staal, Nick Suzuki, Tomas Tatar, Tyler Toffoli (A).
TOR – 34-13-6 (.698)
MTL – 24-20-9 (.538)
⭐ John Tavares (TOR)
⭐⭐ Auston Matthews (TOR)
⭐⭐⭐ Mitchell Marner (TOR)