NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Montreal
(Monday, February 26th)
Final Score: Montreal 5, Toronto 4
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Saku Koivu and Michael Ryder each had a goal and an assist to give the Montreal Canadiens a big 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre.
Mike Johnson, Sheldon Souray and Tomas Plekanec each had a goal for the Canadiens, who have won four of their last five games and now have 72 points, which moves them into the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, one ahead of Carolina.
David Aebischer stopped 32 shots in the win for Montreal.
Bates Battaglia and Bryan McCabe each tallied a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs, who have dropped three of four.
Andrew Raycroft stopped only 11-of-16 shots in the loss for Toronto, which sits in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 69 points. Jean-Sebastien Aubin relieved Raycroft late in the second period and turned aside all eight shots he faced.
"We had to stay out of the penalty box but it didn't happen," said Battaglia. "I think the penalties killed us. They were really moving around quick. But the third period we kept the game ahead of us, kept it simple but it didn't work out for us."
The Leafs were trailing, 5-2, to start the third period, but scored two quick goals.
Jeremy Williams scored his second goal in his second NHL game when Battaglia sent a pass from the right boards to the left circle where Williams one-timed it into the net just 1:02 into the final frame.
Less than four minutes later, a wrist shot by Alex Steen from the top of the right circle handcuffed Aebischer to make it a 5-4 game at the 4:40 mark.
However, the Maple Leafs were unable to net the equalizer and the Habs gave the home crowd a win.
"We had a three-goal lead going into the third period and the first five minutes are crucial," said Koivu. "They scored two quick ones and that's not the way we wanted to come out. We were over protective and they cut our lead to one-goal. Thank God we were able to hang on to the end."
Toronto drew first blood in the contest when Battaglia blasted a one-timer from the slot that went into the left corner of the net just 4:10 in.
Montreal, though, scored the next three goals and took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.
Less than two minutes after the Toronto goal, Alex Kovalev fought off a defender for several seconds and centered the puck to Plekanec, who tapped it into the net for his 14th goal of the season.
Skating on the power play, Koivu sent a backhand pass from the right boards to the right circle where Ryder snapped a wrister over the right shoulder of Raycroft with 5:48 left in the frame.
In the final minute of the first, Radek Bonk won a right circle faceoff and drew the puck back to Johnson, who snapped a wrist shot under the blocker of Raycroft for his 10th goal of the year.
The Maple Leafs cut into their deficit in the second period with a power-play goal when Mats Sundin left a drop pass at the top of the left circle for McCabe, who blasted a slap shot through a screen to make it a 3-2 game 1:32 into the stanza.
The Canadiens answered with a power-play goal of their own when Koivu backhanded a loose puck into the net halfway through the second.
A little over two minutes later, Souray's slap shot from the right point went under the glove of Raycroft to give the Habs a 5-2 advantage.
Montreal begins a five-game road trip in New York on Tuesday to face the Rangers...Toronto returns home to face Buffalo on Tuesday...Montreal went 3-for-4 on the power play while Toronto scored on one of its four chances...The teams have split six games this season...Sundin had two assists in the game...Souray leads all defensemen in the NHL with 22 goals.
02/26 22:47:31 ET