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NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Montreal



(Saturday, March 21st)

Final Score: Toronto 5, Montreal 2

Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Alexei Ponikarovsky had two goals and two assists, as the Toronto Maple Leafs slammed the slumping Montreal Canadiens, 5-2, at the Bell Centre.

Mikhail Grabovski had a goal and three assists while Nikolai Kulemin added a goal and two assists for the Maple Leafs, who have won three of their last four games. Martin Gerber made 26 saves in the win.

"We know Saturday night, especially in this building, it's a good atmosphere here," said Ponikarovsky. "It's great to get that win. We knew they always come out hard in this building. We just had to match their speed, we had to put the puck deep and put as many pucks on the net as we could."

Maxim Lapierre tallied both goals while Jaroslav Halak gave up all five goals on 37 shots for the Canadiens, who have dropped five straight and seven of nine overall.

"I'm clearly frustrated, we're all frustrated," said Lapierre. "We had a clear opportunity to show we have character and we wanted to be in the playoffs. But we didn't play the game we wanted. It's not going to come from anyone else outside this room. We have to work hard, we have to get those points."

The losing streak has dropped Montreal down to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff chase, and with 81 points they are just one point ahead of Florida, which lost to Columbus on Saturday.

Kulemin got the first goal of the game at the 7:51 mark of the first as his slap shot from the left boards got past Halak and, just 23 seconds later, Grabovski made it a 2-0 game with his 18th goal of the season.

Ponikarovsky got his first goal of the game at the 3:09 mark of the second when Grabovski left a drop pass at the left circle and Ponikarovsky blasted it between the pads of Halak.

Ponikarovsky then made it 4-0 with a power-play goal at the 9:09 mark of the second, his 21st of the season.

However, Montreal got back into the contest with two goals from Lapierre, the first at the 12:50 mark of the second and the next one coming with 4:38 to play in the middle stanza to make it a 4-2 game heading into the final 20 minutes.

Jason Blake, though, gave Toronto some insurance just 4:21 into the third period as his wrister from the left circle went over the glove of Halak for a 5-2 advantage.

Game Notes

Toronto hosts Washington on Tuesday...Montreal hosts Atlanta on Tuesday...Toronto has won three of the five games against Montreal in the season series...Toronto went 2-for-5 on the power play while Montreal failed to score on any of its three chances.

03/21 22:33:15 ET


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