NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Toronto
(Saturday, January 27th)
Final Score: Toronto 4, Montreal 1
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Pavel Kubina notched a pair of goals and also added an assist, as the Toronto Maple Leafs got past the Montreal Canadiens, 4-1, at Air Canada Centre.
Jeff O'Neill had a goal and one assist, while Mats Sundin also tallied for the Leafs, who entered the All-Star break after absorbing one of their worst losses of the season, an 8-2 thrashing at Pittsburgh last Saturday. It was the most goals they've allowed in the 2006-07 campaign.
Matt Stajan added a pair of helpers, while Andrew Raycroft stopped 27-of-28 shots faced for Toronto.
"That's great. I'll take that the rest of the year," said Raycroft of the effort. "But our special teams came to play tonight and our penalty killing was a lot better. On our power play, it looked like we got traffic to the net. All three power plays went off a guy and into the net. That's what you gotta do to be succesful."
Tomas Plekanec had the lone tally for the Canadiens, who posted consecutive wins over division leaders entering the All-Star break. The team had dropped eight of 11 prior to the mini-surge.
Cristobal Huet surrendered four goals on 29 shots for Montreal.
Toronto drew first blood at the tail end of a power play, showing crisp puck movement on their way to lighting the lamp. Stajan sparked the tally, dropping the puck down low to Alex Steen, who sent it right back to the top of the slot for Kabina. The defenseman then ripped a 45-foot slapshot past Huet to put Toronto up 1-0 at 13:29.
Another chance on the man-advantage quickly doubled the Leafs' margin, as the Habs' Andrei Markov failed on his clearing attempt along the left boards. Carlo Colaiacovo pounced on the disc at the blue line, directing it to Kubina, who sent a cross-ice pass to O'Neill. A one-timer followed, as O'Neill snapped the puck end-over-end and above the right shoulder of Huet at 14:48.
Montreal finally got in on the action, using a power play to cut its deficit in half in the second stanza. Michael Ryder made a diving attempt to keep the puck in the zone before Plekanec's snapshot beat a screened Raycroft at 6:06.
Another power play opportunity proved convenient for Toronto, however, as it rebuilt its two-goal edge. Sundin was the catalyst to the score, ripping a slapshot from above the left circle that snuck past a screened Huet and under the crossbar with 2:42 remaining until the second intermission.
The Leafs opened a 4-1 margin in the third, as another turnover by Montreal proved costly. Mark Streit couldn't corral the puck behind his own net, falling victim to the giveaway before O'Neill, Stajan and Kubina played tic- tac-toe, with Kubina notching his second of the contest on a 54-foot slapshot at 3:29.
"The power play has been good all year," said Kubina, of what won it for the Leafs. "It's been in the top five all year in the league. The penalty killing has been a different story. They played well tonight. The penalty killers only allowed one goal. We blocked a lot of shots. (We have) 32 games to go, but we gotta get our penalty killing better. The two goals are great through, but getting into the playoffs and the victory is the best."
The Leafs finished 3-for-4 on the power play, while Montreal was just 1- for-7...The Canadiens have allowed nine power play goals against Toronto, and 29 against the rest of the league this season...Sundin now has 1,210 points, tying Bobby Clarke for 38th on the all-time NHL point list. The Canadiens have lost six of eight on the road...Toronto put the brakes on a three-game skid at home...The Leafs start a season-high five-game road trip Tuesday at Carolina...Montreal opens a four-game homestand Monday against Ottawa...Prior to the contest, three of four games between the teams this season had been decided by shootouts, with Montreal coming out on top on two occasions.
01/27 22:47:48 ET