Whitby - Oct. 23, 2011 - If you’re a hockey fan, Saturday night’s contest between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens was a fun game to watch. If you’re a Canadiens fan, you just want to bury your head.
Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski completed a pretty spin-o-rama by sliding the puck past Habs’ netminder Carey Price to notch the overtime winner at 1:23 to give the Leafs a 5-4 win at the Bell Centre.
Leafs’ netminder Jonas Gustavsson notched the win as he stopped 15-of-18 Canadiens’ shots (.833 save percentage), while Price registered yet another loss. He stopped 22-of-27 Leafs’ shots (.815 save percentage). With the win, the Maple Leafs now sit in first place in the NorthEast Division with 11 points, one more than the Buffalo Sabres and seven more than the bottom dwelling Canadiens.
Goal scorers on this evening were Travis Moen with two, Andrei Kostitsyn and Michael Cammalleri for Montreal. David Steckel, Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, Nikolai Kulemin and Grabovski scored for Toronto. Montreal’s season continues to plummet with a 1-4-2 record after Saturday’s game.
The Canadiens’ third line of Moen, Lars Eller and Kostitsyn was Montreal’s best line of the evening, hands down. Moen opened the scoring at 1:51 of the first period with a short-handed marker in the first period. It is clearly evident that Eller continues to gain more confidence each game. Both Eller and Moen finished the game with a plus-3.
Leafs’ fans have reason to be concerned. In the first period, goaltender James Reimer was struck by a Brian Gionta elbow in the first period. To be fair, Leafs’ captain Dion Phaneuf made contact with Gionta. Reimer had to be replaced by Gustavsson to start the second period as Reimer was held back by Coach Ron Wilson for precautionary measures. It is believed there will be no supplementary discipline to Gionta.
The announced three stars of the game were Eller (3rd star, two assists), Moen (2nd star, two goals) and Grabovski (1st star, overtime winner with one assist). The Bell Centre was once again sold out with 21,273 spectators in attendance.
Montreal’s next game is Monday night when they host the Florida Panthers. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
For a complete statistical review of the game and individual Canadiens’ performances, please see the NHL.com link below.
VIEW FROM THE WHITBY CHEAP SEATS
The biggest highlight of the night wasn’t on the ice, rather it happened in the post-game scrum. Coach Jacques Martin who is normally comatose at the best of times, completely disrespected TSN 990?s Jessica Rusnak when she asked him why Erik Cole was on the bench and Mathieu Darche saw time on the power play.
Martin laughed aloud and told her to do her research. As Canadiens’ coach, it was his prerogative to play Darche on the power play. To date, Cole has 43 career power play goals - Darche has 3 career power play goals. Martin has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Personally, Rusnak should have asked why Max Pacioretty wasn’t on the first power play unit and not Cole, but that’s just me.
The Canadiens need to be more accountable; these too many men penalties just can’t happen time-after-time.
Someone has to step up and start protecting Carey Price. Sooner or later, Price is going to suffer an injury with unnecessary contact from opposing teams. The much smaller Yannick Weber tried to step up but high-sticked Jay Rosehill and as a result was assessed a penalty which eventually led to a Leafs’ power play goal.
GAME STATS REVIEW
Michael Cammalleri played his 500th game
Scott Gomez sat out Saturday’s game and is expected to miss a week of action
Montreal’s power play went zero-for-four; same old story
Montreal outshot Toronto 28 - 27
Erik Cole delivered five hits to lead the Canadiens
P.K. Subban led the Canadiens with 25:43 minutes of ice time. He finished the night with one assist, was even and had four shots on net.
Montreal won 36-of-63 faceoffs:
David Desharnais was 9-for-17 (.529)
Lars Eller was 9-for-16 (.562)
Tomas Plekanec was 12-for-20 (.600)
Canadiens’ captain Brian Gionta led the team in the plus-minus department as he finished the night as a minus-2.
Montreal had no shots on goal in overtime - Toronto had three.
Until next time, play every game as if it is your last one…