A special “Hockey Day in Canada” matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens went down on Saturday night. Despite a 2-0 lead for Toronto, the Cole Caufield-less Montreal Canadiens battled back to steal this one in overtime. It was a high-flying, fast-paced battle that saw the Canadiens winning 3-2 in overtime.
In the opening period, the blue and white came out with a bang! An early goal was scored by Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano only fifty-three seconds into the game. After Maple Leafs forward William Nylander dropped a pass in the slot for Giordano, Mark stepped right into it, firing one short-side on Montreal goaltender Sam Montembeault.
As the Maple Leafs took an early 1-0 lead, the team didn’t stop there. The blue and white came in waves at Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault. In the opening period, A fantastic opportunity for Pierre Engvall, who was all alone in front, was also denied by the 26-year-old. Engvall tried to slide it through the legs of Montembeault but was quickly turned aside.
After peppering the Canadiens goaltender, the Toronto Maple Leafs finally broke through for a second! Leafs forward Mitch Marner started the rush, using a burst of speed into the Canadiens’ zone, setting up the opportunity. A nifty pass by Leafs defenseman Conor Timmins found Leafs forward Calle Järnkrok all alone for the tap-in. The Maple Leafs went into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead, dominating the shot totals 15-4.
After a first period that really didn’t go the way Montreal hoped, they certainly made up for it in the second. An early opportunity for Montreal Canadiens forward Josh Anderson was capitalized after a loose puck found the stick of Canadiens’ Rem Pitlick, who played a pass into the slot for Nick Suzuki. Nick then played a pass to the right of Ilya Samsonov for teammate Josh Anderson, who quickly buried a one-timer. This was Josh Anderson’s 14th goal of the season, as the 28-year-old loves to score against the blue and white.
After Anderson’s goal pulled Montreal within one, the Canadiens didn’t stop there. A beautiful diving effort by Canadiens forward Nick Pezzetta sent the puck to Rafael Harvey-Pinard, who put one up high on Samsonov! The Montreal Canadiens tied the game at two with just over six minutes remaining in the second period.
This classic rivalry was shaping up for a pretty entertaining final frame. The Maple Leafs came out hot in the first twenty, but it was all Montreal in the second. We were heading into the third period with a 2-2 tie! After neither side could add one more before the second intermission.
In the final frame, it was definitely a much more balanced effort. The blue and white looked a bit more rejuvenated and showed some life in the offensive zone, but were shut down by the Canadiens goaltender. Montreal didn’t shy away either, getting some close chances for a third, but Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov stood strong.
After neither team could score in the third period, we were heading to overtime after a late push from the Leafs and a power-play opportunity for the Canadiens. This game was setting up for a pretty fun overtime in a game that had almost everything. From goals, hits, and saves, this was a classic Leafs vs. Canadiens battle.
In overtime, after both sides went back and forth, it was the Montreal Canadiens who scored first. A pass from Canadiens forward Mike Hoffman found Rem Pitlick at the Leafs’ blueline. Pitlick then walked into the Leafs’ zone and fired a wrister just above the blocker of Ilya Samsonov. This was Pitlick’s 3rd-goal of the season for Montreal, winning the game 3-2 for the Canadiens. The Maple Leafs will look to bounce back on Monday as they host the New York Islanders.
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