NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Toronto
(Saturday, March 29th)
Final Score: Toronto 4, Montreal 2
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Jiri Tlusty had two goals and an assist, and Anton Stralman also scored a pair as the Toronto Maple Leafs topped the Montreal Canadiens, 4-2, at Air Canada Centre.
Nik Antropov added three assists for the Leafs, who snapped a two-game losing skid. Vesa Toskala made 21 saves to earn the win.
"We said before the game, 'let's play for each other, let's play for the team,'" Stralman said. "We've got a couple of games left, we just want to finish it the right way."
Tom Kostopoulos and Mathieu Dandenault each scored for Montreal, while Jaroslav Halak allowed four goals on 37 shots. The Habs had a four-game win streak ended and lost a chance to clinch the Northeast Division after Ottawa lost in Boston on Saturday. Montreal still owns a six-point lead over the Senators, and is one point clear of idle Pittsburgh for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Montreal played without captain Saku Koivu and defenseman Mark Streit, who both suffered foot injuries in Friday's overtime win at Buffalo.
The Leafs emerged with a 2-1 lead after two periods, coming out on top after the teams scored three goals in a span of a little more than two minutes.
Toronto opened the scoring at the 7:25 mark of the second period, when Antropov found Stralman at the point for a shot that traveled through a screen and over Halak's right shoulder.
"I was just trying to put the puck past the forward," Stralman said. "Mats (Sundin) was right there in front, and I don't think the goalie even saw it."
Montreal answered just under a minute later, when Maxim Lapierre picked up his own rebound on the right side of the net and fired the puck in front, where it deflected off Dandenault's skate and stick and past Toskala.
Stralman picked up his second goal at 9:33, leading a rush into the Montreal zone and firing a wrister from the right circle to give Toronto a 2-1 edge.
Tlusty scored twice in the third period, both off assists from Antropov, giving Toronto a 4-1 edge with less than five minutes to play.
Kostopoulos beat Toskala on a backhand with 16 seconds left, but the Habs ran out of time trying to close the gap.
Montreal only managed two shots in the first period, but Halak denied all 10 shots he faced and the Canadiens stopped three Toronto power plays to keep the game scoreless after 20 minutes.
Toronto won despite an 0-for-7 performance on the power play, while Montreal was 0-for-3 with the man advantage...Montreal gets its next chance to clinch its first division title since 1991-92 in Ottawa on Tuesday...Stralman had just one goal for the season entering the game...Toskala made his 30th straight start, he is 17-11-2 during that span.
03/29 22:32:21 ET