Playoff Game 78
Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 1
Stanley Cup Quarterfinals, Game 7
Monday, May 31, 2021
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario
Carey Price made 29 saves, and the Montréal Canadiens eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 3-1 victory in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup First Round at Scotiabank Arena on Monday.
Montréal, which trailed the best-of-7 series 3-1 before winning three straight games, will face the Winnipeg Jets in the second round beginning Wednesday at Winnipeg.
“This is the best team game that we’ve played this season,” Price said. “I thought we had a pretty good chance all series, and obviously when we won Game 5 to get our second win we started gathering momentum, and we just kept at it and tried to keep that momentum going tonight.”
Brendan Gallagher, Corey Perry and Tyler Toffoli scored for the Canadiens, the number four seed in the Scotia North Division.
“I consider myself a little bit of an experienced guy and you seem to realize these playoff series are hard to win,” Gallagher said. “That’s a heck of a hockey team on the other side, they competed hard, pushed us to the brink and we had to find out a lot about ourselves. We’ve got nothing but respect for those guys over there. For our team to enjoy this win, continue to grow and build and now we are on to Winnipeg to hopefully do it again.”
Jack Campbell made 20 saves for the Maple Leafs, the number one seed in the division. They have lost all six of their Stanley Cup Playoff series since defeating the Ottawa Senators in seven games in the 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Toronto also has lost eight games with a chance to win a series in that span.
“You’ve got to give credit to Montréal for the job that they did,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Our guys were quite devastated after the game so I chose not to speak to the group after. Really hard to put it into words. We’re obviously devastated, disappointed. Expected better of ourselves, and we think we’re capable of a lot more, not just tonight but through the whole series.”
The Canadiens went up 1-0 at 3:02 of the second period. Eric Staal forced a turnover by Mitchell Marner at the Montréal blue line, allowing Gallagher to collect a loose puck in the neutral zone before carrying it into Toronto’s zone and shooting between Campbell’s pads from the top of the left face-off circle.
“It’s just tough,” Campbell said. “I just think of how hard our team battled and for it to end on the worst goal of my career, it happened in a Game 7. It’s not acceptable. The team counts on me to be better, and I know I can be a lot better than that.”
Perry scored when Nick Suzuki’s shot deflected off him near the right post to make it 2-0 at 15:25.
Toffoli pushed the lead to 3-0 when he scored into an empty net at 17:22.
“This was huge for our whole team,” Canadiens forward Phillip Danault said. “We know we can play against good players. Everyone did their job, that’s how we won, and Price was solid every single night giving us a chance to win. A lot of pride here, a lot of pride in that dressing room and we definitely want more now.”
William Nylander’s one-timer through traffic cut it to 3-1 with 1:36 left.
“I don’t think there’s much to be said,” said Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, who finished the series with one goal in seven games after leading the NHL with 41 in 52 regular-season games. “I’m not really sure how to sum it up. It’s extremely frustrating all around.”
Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said he felt coming into the game that Montréal was confident in its ability to complete the comeback with a series win.
“We played Game 5, Game 6 the same way,” Ducharme said. “We had our backs to the wall, and for us tonight it was the same mindset, the same way to prepare. I felt our guys were in the right place and even more confident than before because we had just won those last two games. It was not that different of a day for us. I think our guys prepared really well and I think it showed on the ice.”
NOTES: This was the second time the Maple Leafs and Canadiens faced each other in a Game 7. The first was Toronto’s 3-1 victory in the 1964 Stanley Cup Semifinals…The Maple Leafs were without defenceman Jake Muzzin, who sustained a lower-body injury in Game 6 and is expected to need at least three weeks to recover…Marner, who was second on Toronto this season with 20 goals in 55 games, did not score in the series, playing seven games…Perry scored for the fourth time in a Game 7 and played his ninth. He is third in Game 7 goals among active players, trailing Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins (six goals in 12 games) and Paul Stastny of the Jets (five goals in six games).
MTL GOAL – 03:02 – Gallagher (Staal)
TOR PEN – 14:44 – Engvall, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 15:25 – Perry (Suzuki, Gustafsson)
MTL PEN – 19:59 – Armia, interference
MTL PEN – 11:20 – Weber, interference
MTL EN GOAL – 17:22 – Toffoli (Staal, Danault)
TOR EA GOAL – 18:24 – Nylander (Matthews, Spezza)
MTL – Price (W, 29-30)
TOR – Campbell (L, 20-22)
SHOTS ON GOAL
MTL – 12+6+5 = 23
TOR – 8+6+16 = 30
MTL – Goaltenders: 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.
TOR – Goaltenders: Frederik Andersen, Jack Campbell. Defence: Zach Bogosian, T.J. Brodie, Travis Dermott, Justin Holl, Morgan Rielly (A), Rasmus Sandin. 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)
⭐⭐ Brendan Gallagher (MTL)
⭐⭐⭐ William Nylander (TOR)