Sports Canadiens end three-game losing streak against first-place Leafs
Stu Cowan: Math works in Canadiens' favour down the stretch
Are you ready for some hockey — lots of hockey? Heading into Thursday night’s game against the Senators in Ottawa, the Canadiens had 24 games left in this condensed 56-game NHL season. Those 24 games will be played over 41 days. Starting next week, the Canadiens will play four games a week for five straight weeks before wrapping up the regular season with back-to-back games against the Edmonton Oilers on May 10 and 11 at the Bell Centre. There’s Heading into Thursday night’s game against the Senators in Ottawa, the Canadiens had 24 games left in this condensed 56-game NHL season. Those 24 games will be played over 41 days.
Hold the epitaph — there’s still some life in the Canadiens.
Not only did Montreal end a three-game losing streak Monday night, it defeated the best team in the North Division and one of the NHL’s hottest clubs.
Josh Anderson provided the winning goal in the second period, as the Canadiens edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 at the Bell Centre. Not only had the visitors won their last six games, Toronto goaltender Jack Campbell had established a league record, winning his first 11 appearances to start a season — the old record held by the Canadiens’ Carey Price.
Canadiens at Maple Leafs: Five things you should know
Here are five things you should know about the Canadiens-Maple Leafs game Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena (7:30 p.m., SN, SN1, RDS, TSN Radio 690, 98.5 FM). The matchup: This is the fifth of 10 meetings between the teams and, while each game has been decided by no more than two goals, the Canadiens have only one victory to show for their efforts. Toronto (26-10-3) has spent most of the season in first place in the all-Canadian North Division and returns home following a successful four-game road trip, having swept both Winnipeg and Calgary twice. The Maple Leafs are undefeated in their last eight games (7-0-1).
Tomas Tatar and Nick Suzuki staked Montreal to a 2-0 first-period lead before Auston Matthews and John Tavares tied the score. Tatar added an empty-net goal in the third period to secure the victory.
The Canadiens’ record improved to 18-12-9, while the Leafs are now 28-11-3. It also marked only the second time in six games this season Montreal has defeated Toronto. That’s significant, since this is a potential opening-round playoff encounter.
Playing his fourth consecutive game, Allen, replacing the injured Price, won only his second game in 11 starts.
The Canadiens produced one of their best periods this season over the opening 20 minutes. Not only did they outscore Toronto 2-0, they limited the Leafs to three shots.
For the first time since an April 1 game at Ottawa, the Canadiens scored the first goal. That it was produced early was an added bonus.
Jets at Canadiens: Five things you should know
Here are five things you should know about the Jets-Canadiens game Thursday night at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN Radio-690, 98.5 FM). The matchup: This is the third of four games this week for the Canadiens, who are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs Wednesday night in Toronto. It’s also the first of two contests against Winnipeg within 72 hours; the teams are meeting in Montreal again Saturday night. The Jets have been idle since Monday, when they defeated Ottawa 4-3 at home, following two home-ice losses against the Leafs — one in a shootout. This is the seventh of nine meetings between the Canadiens and Jets. The remaining three games are all in Montreal.
The puck deflected off the skate of Alex Galchenyuk, a former Canadien, directly to Tatar, who beat Campbell at 1:17 for his ninth goal this season.
Montreal took a 2-0 lead at 7:53 on a power-play goal by Suzuki, his eighth. He beat Campbell to the glove side from the right-wing circle.
The Canadiens’ power play, like most other aspects, has struggled of late. Montreal had scored only once in 21 opportunities with the man advantage over its last seven games.
But of course it’s difficult to keep the Leafs in neutral for long, especially Matthews, the NHL’s leading scorer.
The inevitable occurred almost halfway through the second period. Mitch Marner’s pass from the high slot deflected off Matthews’s stick for his 32nd goal. Matthews was unguarded after Suzuki and Brett Kulak got their wires crossed. It was Matthews’s eighth goal in five games, including a hat trick Saturday against Ottawa.
Veteran forwards Kyle Turris, Paul Byron put on waivers
Once reliable scoring options, Byron and Turris have seen their stocks fall dramatically the past few seasons.For Bishop and the Senators, this is a simple move to regain the roster flexibility they have had for most of the season. After clearing waivers before the season began, Bishop was able to move freely between the active roster and taxi squad depending on need, saving the Senators some cash on off days. His exempt status expired earlier this month, meaning he needed to clear again to be assigned to the taxi squad. With just three points in 12 games, Bishop is likely to clear again.
The Leafs, who were controlling much of the period’s play by this point, required another five minutes before tying the score, at 14:57. There was a scramble in front of Allen and the Canadiens failed to clear the puck. Tavares, the Toronto captain, scored on a backhand.
But just when it appeared the sky was going to fall on Montreal, it took advantage of a miscue after defenceman T.J. Brodie was caught up ice, creating a two-on-one break. Anderson threaded the needle, beating Campbell to the glove side from the right-wing circle for his 15th goal at 16:22.
Both Anderson and Suzuki had glorious opportunities to provide the Canadiens with an insurance goal in the third period. That, of course, proved moot after Tatar scored his second of the game.
The six-game homestand continues with a pair against Calgary, beginning Wednesday night. The two teams have five games upcoming — a sequence that likely will determine which one secures the North Division’s final playoff spot.
Canadiens' Carey Price returns to Montreal to get treatment for concussion .
The Canadiens aren’t scheduled to play again at home until Wednesday, but Carey Price will be there waiting. The goaltender has returned to Montreal to receive further treatment for his concussion. On Tuesday, head coach Dominique Ducharme ruled out Price for at least a week, but with a concussion, the return timeline is always a little hazy. © Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports Canadiens goaltender Carey Price had been ruled out for at least a week with a concussion.