TOR@MTL W 6-0
At the quarter mark of the season the Maple Leafs have impressed. They got off to that amazing start followed by a hiccup and are now back on track, winners of 5 straight. Their defence of late is better and the team is learning how to win close and low scoring games. Freddy Andersen has been the best goalie in the NHL over the last couple of weeks and entered this one coming Friday a shut out last time out.
Saturday night Toronto was in Montreal for a classic original six matchup. The Canadiens organization put on a great ceremony honouring the original six and some of its retired legends. The Habs and the Leafs are by far the best at these ceremonies and this was no exception.
Then the puck dropped and the first period was dominated by Montreal who outshot Toronto 16-7 but there was no scoring.
The 2nd period looked like there would be no goals until 12:07 when Bozak from the corner passed it out to the point and Ron Hainsey who started his career as a Hab stepped into a shot and got his first goal as a Maple leaf. Thirty seven seconds later it was a goal by Nazem Kadri . As Naz skated down the left wing he shot a wrister short-side in the top corner where there wasn’t much space. After two the Leafs were up by two.
In the third period everything fell apart for the Canadiens in a hurry. Connor Brown scored off a Zaitsev point shot. Brown got the rebound in front and chipped it over a young Canadiens goaltender. Then JVR scored his 10th at 8:11. It was from the slot as a pass dropped in front of him and he lifted it into the net. Forty eight seconds later Auston Matthews got on the board after Matt Martin made a skillful 2 ft back pass in between his legs as he was getting crunched face first into the glass. Mitch Marner picked up the pass on the sideboards and skated down low before making a beautiful pass out front that went past a defender to an almost wide open Matthews for the 5 ft wrist shot. The Habs then changed their Goalie but not because it was his fault.
Enter Antti Niemi, the Habs back up now that CareyPrice is shelved. He already played for Pittsburgh and then Florida this season before Price got injured and the Habs needed an established back up. The first save he made as a Canadien was a shot that came from beside the Leafs net. The Habs faithful cheered and jeered the save. The Leafs added one goal by Matthews and it was tied with Kadri’s for goal of the game. He picked up the puck at centre and skated across ice and over the blue line. He then allowed his own player too skate on front f him towards the net. Then he used his player and the Montreal defender as a screen and let go what is becoming a patented Matthews goal as a rocket wrist shot found the top right corner. The Leafs fans started singing “OLE OLE OLE OLE”. The chant of course is used by Habs fans for visiting teams and goalies when Montreal has a big lead in the 3rd period. So Toronto has got back their star in Matthews and with a 6-0 victory, have now won six in a row since that west coast road trip that questioned their defensive zone work ethic. Toronto now has 28 points, only two wins behind Tampa who sit on top of the NHL with 32