Playoff Game 77 – Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2 (OT)

Playoff Game 77
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2 (OT)
Stanley Cup Quarterfinals, Game 6
Saturday, May 29, 2021
Centre Bell, Montréal, Québec

Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored at 15:15 of overtime, and the Montréal Canadiens avoided elimination for the second straight game with a 3-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup First Round at Bell Centre on Saturday.

Following a turnover by Maple Leafs defenceman Travis Dermott, Kotkaniemi took a pass from Paul Byron in the slot and scored on a shot that deflected off Zach Bogosian and past Jack Campbell’s glove.

“It’s pretty remarkable,” Kotkaniemi said. “It was a great feeling, especially with the fans in the stands.”

A crowd of about 2,500 was permitted to attend the game, the first among the seven Canada-based NHL teams with fans since March 11, 2020.

“It was pretty cool going out for warm-ups and seeing them, seeing the towels go,” Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli said. “They were fired up and they definitely gave us that emotion to start the game. And I thought we played really good. Obviously, a couple of tough bounces, but we stuck with it, and obviously a big goal by ‘KK.'”

Toffoli and Corey Perry each scored a power-play goal, and Carey Price made 41 saves for Montréal, the number four seed in the Scotia North Division, which blew a two-goal lead in the third period for the second straight game before recovering to win in overtime.

“There’s no quit in this group, and even though we’ve given up leads in the last couple games, we grinded it out,” Canadiens captain Shea Weber said. “Tonight, I thought ‘Pricey’ played unbelievable. He kept us in it, especially in overtime there when they were pushing, and gave us a chance, and obviously that made the difference.”

Jason Spezza and T.J. Brodie scored, and Campbell made 28 saves for Toronto, the number one seed, which outshot Montréal 13-2 in overtime.

“Clearly, (Price) is playing very well,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “He’s the backbone of their team, we knew that going in, but I don’t feel like our guys are intimidated by any means…We’re not getting a great deal of great looks at the goaltender, especially here tonight. We’ve got to do a better job of getting inside and making it hard on him.

“You look at a lot of the goals and the way they’re going in, they are hitting off bodies and redirections and stuff like that. We’ve got to focus on those kind of things.”

Game 7 is in Toronto on Monday. The winner will play the number three seed Winnipeg Jets in the second round.

“I think it’s obviously frustrating losing the game,” Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews said. “But battling back the way we did, and obviously we had plenty of chances, it’s a game of inches out there in overtime to obviously end the game, and we couldn’t get it done. We’re going to move on, and we’ve got another game here. We’re going back home and we’ve got to be ready.”

Perry gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead at 5:26 of the third period, shooting into an open net after Campbell was unable to cover the puck up during a scramble in the crease. Keefe challenged the play for goaltender interference, but the call was upheld after a video review, resulting in a penalty for delay of game.

On the ensuing power play, Mitchell Marner was assessed his own penalty for delay of game when he shot the puck over the glass, giving Montréal a 5-on-3 advantage. Toffoli then scored with a quick shot short side on Campbell from in front to make it 2-0 at 6:43.

Prior to Perry’s goal, the Canadiens were 0-for-15 with the man-advantage in the series.

“We weren’t really sure how that one would go,” Keefe said about challenging Perry’s goal. “But given what was happening in the game, with the significance of the goal, we thought in the moment that it was worthy of a challenge, and having confidence in our penalty kill if we needed to get it done like it has all series for us. Obviously, we end up being 5-on-3, so it doesn’t go the way we want it to.”

Spezza scored his third goal of the series to cut it to 2-1 at 11:35, kicking the puck to his stick before shooting top shelf from in front.

Brodie tied it at 2-2 at 16:49 when his slap shot from the right circle deflected off Montréal defenceman Jeff Petry’s skate and beat Price under his arm.

NOTES: The Canadiens are the first team to surrender a multi-goal third-period lead in consecutive playoff games facing elimination and win each of them…Maple Leafs forward Nick Foligno had three shots, three hits, and a plus-1 rating in 18:37 after missing the previous three games with a lower-body injury…Toronto defenceman Jake Muzzin left in the second period because of a lower-body injury. No update was provided after the game…Canadiens forward Jake Evans had one shot and five hits in 23:05 after missing four games with an undisclosed injury…The Maple Leafs won the only previous Game 7 between the teams in the 1964 semifinals, when Dave Keon scored a hat trick in a 3-1 win at the Montréal Forum.

Story property of, photo property of Sportklub

1st Period
MTL PEN – 01:57 – Anderson, tripping
TOR PEN – 07:24 – Kerfoot, high sticking

2nd Period
MTL PEN – 03:53 – Weber, delay of game

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 02:18 – Danault, holding
TOR PEN – 05:16 – Nylander, interference
MTL PP GOAL – 05:26 – Perry (Toffoli)
TOR PEN – 05:26 – team, unsuccessful challenge
TOR PEN – 05:45 – Marner, delay of game
MTL PP2 GOAL – 06:43 – Toffoli (Suzuki, Petry)
MTL PEN – 08:25 – Chiarot, slashing
TOR GOAL – 11:35 – Spezza (Kerfoot)
TOR GOAL – 16:49 – Brodie (Engvall)

MTL GOAL – 15:15 – Kotkaniemi (Byron)

MTL – Price (W, 41-43)
TOR – Campbell (L, 28-31)

MTL – 15+6+8+2 = 31
TOR – 9+6+15+13 = 43

MTLGoaltenders: Jake Allen, Carey Price. Defence: Ben Chiarot, Joel Edmundson, Erik Gustafsson, Brett Kulak, Jeff Petry, Shea Weber (C). Forwards: Josh Anderson, Joel Armia, Paul Byron (A), Cole Caufield, Phillip Danault, Jake Evans, Brendan Gallagher (A), Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Corey Perry, Eric Staal, Nick Suzuki, Tyler Toffoli.
TORGoaltenders: Frederik Andersen, Jack Campbell. Defence: Zach Bogosian, T.J. Brodie, Travis Dermott, Justin Holl, Jake Muzzin, Morgan Rielly (A). Forwards: Pierre Engvall, Nick Foligno, Alex Galchenyuk, Zach Hyman, Alexander Kerfoot, Mitchell Marner (A), Auston Matthews (A), Ilya Mikheyev, William Nylander, Wayne Simmonds, Jason Spezza, Joe Thornton.


Carey Price (MTL)
⭐⭐ Jack Campbell (TOR)
⭐⭐⭐ Jesperi Kotkaniemi (MTL)