The Toronto Maple Leafs scored three goals on their first four shots on goal en route to a 5-1 burial of the Canadiens at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Saturday night. Tyler Bozak opened the scoring on a power play at 1:58 of the first period. Leo Komarov made it 2-0 in the ninth minute and Jay McClement ended Carey Price’s night just over two minutes later. After Davis Drewiske scored his first goal as a member of the Canadiens, Toronto made it 4-1 on their 5th shot. Phil Kessel completed the scoring early in the second period. Things could have been worse. The Boston Bruins lost 4-2 at Carolina so the Canadiens remain a point ahead in the race for first place in the Northeast Divison. Each team has seven games remaining.
Adding It Up –
Bad Timing – Carey Price could have picked a better time to have the worst game of his NHL career. He could be forgiven on the first goal which featured a touch goalmouth pass from Van Riemsdyk to Bozak, but number two and number three can only be termed bad goals. Komarov threw an ‘excuse me’ shot toward Price that he simply blew and he let in a stoppable shot after fourth liner McClement ducked around an out of position Nathan Beaulieu. That goal ended Price’s night at the 10:25 mark of the first period. Three goals on four shots
The Back Up – Peter Budaj came on with the Canadiens in a nearly impossible hole. He gave up two goals on the remaining 24 Toronto shots. Bouillon and Desharnais had him absolutely screened on the fourth goal, which was scored on Toronto’s 5th shot of the period. After that, only Phil Kessel was able to beat him on a second period odd-man rush..
Backbreaker - Brendan Gallagher outraced a defender to the corner and set up Drewiske to make it 3-1 and with the Canadiens completely dominating the game territorially, there was reason to hope for a comeback. But with 2:54 remaning in the period, on the Leafs 5th shot, Dion Phaneuf threaded the puck through the screen and it was lights out. First period shots on goal were 13-5 for the Habs.
Desperation – The Canadiens went all-in with their offence in the second period and the result was five 2-on-1 Toronto breaks. Budaj stopped all but Phil Kessel who scored the fifth goal. Playing with a four goal lead for the final 35 minutes of the game, Toronto had nothing to think about but defence and they played that almost perfectly.
Short Term Memory – Carey Price has shown an ability to put immediately put nightmares like this on the back burner . On February 9th at the Bell Centre the Leafs poured six past him on 27 shots. He came back to go 10-1-4 over his next 15 games, which is a tribute to not only Price’s ability to shrug off a poor performance but that of his teammates.
From the Scoresheet – There were 83 hits registered in the game with Toronto accountin for 47 of them. P.K. Subban led the Canadiens in shots with six. Plekanec was the best Canadiens forward. He had five shots. Pacioretty continues to work hard and produce nothing on the scoresheet while Brendan Gallagher continues have the greatest effect on the emotions of his opponents. It thought the Eller line was the Canadiens most effective, but in the end they had nothing to show for a lot of hard work.
Oddity – The Canadiens have lost ten games all season. Three of them have been against Toronto and two of them against the Buffalo Sabres. Six of the ten losses have come against Northeast Division opponents (8-6-3).
Moving On – The Canadiens have their work cut out for them. They, along with the Bruins have a four game weeks ahead. The Canadiens start four games in six nights with Philadelphia at the Bell Centre Monday. They’re in Pittsburgh Wednesday and back home to Tampa on Thursday and Washington on Saturday. Meanwhile Boston has four in six nights but all of them are home games starting with Ottawa Tuesday, Buffalo Wednesday, Pittsburgh Friday and Florida on Sunday. Dating back to the Canadiens March 27th comeback shootout win in Boston, the Canadiens have a record of 6-3-0 while the Bruins are 5-4-1.