Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 1
Saturday, February 18, 2023
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario
Ryan O’Reilly had an assist in his Toronto Maple Leafs debut, a 5-1 win against the Montréal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday.
O’Reilly, who was acquired from the St. Louis Blues along with centre Noel Acciari on Friday, had one shot in 16:12. Acciari also played his first game for the Maple Leafs and had four shots in 14:22. Both players arrived in Toronto Saturday afternoon after flying in from St. Louis.
“It’s kind of like going into cold water, it’s better just to kind of jump headfirst than tip-toe into it,” O’Reilly said. “This was a little extreme in the sense of coming in here and taking off (to Chicago to play the Blackhawks on Sunday) right now, it was a little crazy, but I think it was the way to do it. I think the longer we waited, the more thinking creeps in and such, it’s better just to get here and start playing and let the hockey do it. It’s been great so far.”
Michael Bunting scored twice, Pierre Engvall had a goal and an assist, Auston Matthews and Rasmus Sandin each had two assists and Joseph Woll made 29 saves in his first win of the season for the Maple Leafs (34-14-8), who are 3-1-0 in their past four games. It was also Woll’s first NHL win on home ice.
“Pretty awesome, especially against Montréal on a Saturday night, it was pretty special,” Woll said. “I actually didn’t know about (the trade) until this morning when I was looking at our lineup chart and was like, ‘What happened to our lines?!’…I don’t have social media, so I live in the dark with that stuff, I literally had no idea.”
Josh Anderson scored, and Jake Allen made 36 saves for the Canadiens (23-29-4), who have lost two in a row after winning three straight.
“Expectations are the same,” Montréal coach Martin St-Louis said. “It’s stay engaged, be engaged as a player and keep working on the things we’ve been talking about, building our brand so to speak about how we want to play. There’s things we’ve built throughout the season and just stay true to those.
“That’s what we focus on, that’s the level of expectation I have in terms of how we want to play. Are we going to win, I’m not sure, but it’s how you measure success in the situations we are in right now and it’s just keep building about how we want to look like.”
Toronto acquired O’Reilly and Acciari in a three-team trade that also included the Minnesota Wild. The Blues received the rights to forward prospect Josh Pillar from the Wild for O’Reilly, then traded him and Acciari to the Maple Leafs for Toronto’s first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Ottawa Senators’ third-round pick this year, Toronto’s second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, and forwards Mikhail Abramov and Adam Gaudette. Minnesota received the Maple Leafs’ fourth-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft.
Anderson gave Montréal a 1-0 lead 42 seconds into the second period after deflecting Mike Matheson’s shot from the blue line.
Bunting tied it 1-1 at 5:32 when he one-timed a pass from Auston Matthews at the top of the goal crease while on the power play.
Engvall put Toronto ahead 2-1 at 13:20 of the second period when he skated out of the corner and shot from just inside the right faceoff dot.
Bunting made it 3-1 at 18:20 with his second goal, one-timing a pass from Calle Jarnkrok at the right faceoff dot. O’Reilly also assisted on the goal for his first point with the Maple Leafs.
William Nylander extended it to 4-1 at 3:47 of the third period on a shot from the bottom of the left face-off circle after taking a cross-slot pass from Matthews, who took the puck off the end boards, fought off Johnathan Kovacevic and worked his way in front getting past Christian Dvorak along the goal line.
“That showed his strength,” Bunting said of Matthews. “He’s hard to get the puck off of, and he showed it there. He had two guys on him and then he made a really nice play across the crease to Willy, and he just tapped it right in. Matthews is a shooter, but also he can dish and make those kind of plays as well.”
David Kampf put in a rebound at 14:53 at the top of the goal crease for the 5-1 final, ending a 27-game goal drought.
“It wasn’t our best game tonight, but you have to give them credit,” Anderson said. “They came out hard, played a lot of offence in our end tonight. We had times to capitalize, a few 2-on-1’s but they capitalized on their chances. Like I said, we have to give them credit, they played well.”
Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said he was pleased with his initial impressions of O’Reilly and Acciari. “They came as advertised in terms of their personality, character, the way they fit in, two veteran players, very experienced and accomplished guys who fit in right away even though they’re the new guys here,” Keefe said. “They fit in really well and that was great to see for sure. That’s going to really help us.”
NOTES: Erik Kallgren, who was recalled from Toronto of the American Hockey League, backed up Woll. Goalie Ilya Samsonov was unavailable for the Maple Leafs due to an illness, but will travel with the team to Chicago and prepare to play against the Blackhawks on Sunday, Keefe said….Toronto forward Mitchell Marner’s seven-game point streak (two goals, seven assists) ended…Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly’s five-game point streak (two goals, three assists) ended.
Story property of NHL.com, photo property of The Globe & Mail
MTL GOAL – 00:42 – Anderson (Matheson, Harris)
MTL PEN – 04:04 – Matheson, tripping
TOR PP GOAL – 05:32 – Bunting (Matthews, Sandin)
TOR PEN – 07:57 – Tavares, hooking
TOR GOAL – 13:20 – Engvall
MTL PEN – 16:11 – Savard, slashing
TOR GOAL – 18:20 – Bunting (Jarnkrok, O’Reilly)
TOR GOAL – 03:47 – Nylander (Matthews, Giordano)
MTL PEN – 10:34 – Harvey-Pinard, high sticking
TOR GOAL – 14:53 – Kampf (Engvall, Sandin)
TOR – Woll (W, 29-30)
MTL – Allen (L, 36-41)
SHOTS ON GOAL
TOR – 16+14+11 = 41
MTL – 13+8+9 = 30
TOR – Goaltenders: Erik Kallgren, Joseph Woll. Defence: T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Justin Holl, Timothy Liljegren, Morgan Rielly (A), Rasmus Sandin. Forwards: Noel Acciari, Zach Aston-Reese, Michael Bunting, Pierre Engvall, Calle Jarnkrok, David Kampf, Alexander Kerfoot, Mitchell Marner (A), Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Ryan O’Reilly, John Tavares (C).
MTL – Goaltenders: Jake Allen, Sam Montembeault. Defence: Justin Barron, Jordan Harris, Johnathan Kovacevic, Mike Matheson, David Savard (A), Corey Schueneman. Forwards: Josh Anderson (A), Joel Armia, Alex Belzile, Evgenii Dadonov, Jonathan Drouin, Christian Dvorak, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Mike Hoffman, Michael Pezzetta, Rem Pitlick, Nick Suzuki (C), Jesse Ylonen.
TOR – 34-14-8 (.679)
MTL – 23-29-4 (.446)
⭐ Michael Bunting (TOR)
⭐⭐ Rasmus Sandin (TOR)
⭐⭐⭐ Pierre Engvall (TOR)