You'd think that when a team is honoring it's all-time scoring leader, that you'd see some offense, right? Well in this case the answer would be no.
Prior to tonight's game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, the Leafs honored Mats Sundin's No.13 sweater. It was a brief, but heartwarming ceremony, which was concluded by an emotional and motivating speech by Sundin.
With Sundin's words in their minds, and facing their oldest rival, you'd expect some momentum from the home town team. It certainly didn't happen in a 5-0 Canadiens win.
Carey Price made 32 saves on the night for his fourth shutout of the season. Goaltending at the other end was a disaster and pretty well deflated the rest of the Leafs on the night. Toronto held the upper hand in shots and Corsi/Fenwick, but when your goaltender drops the ball, not much else really matters in the end game.
Both teams were held scoreless in the first period, with the Leafs outshooting the Canadiens 14-8.
The Canadiens would only manage seven shots in the second period, but were able to put four goals behind James Reimer.
Erik Cole was the first, at 5:01, when he snapped a wrist shot through Reimer's five hole, on a shot the goaltender should easily have handled. Rene Bourque added the Canadiens second goal 1:44 later, one-timing a perfect pass from Tomas Plekanec.
Max Pacioretty added to his team-leading goal tally, on the powerplay at 15:54, sitting in the slot and again taking advantage of the hole between Reimer's pads.
Lars Eller then made it 4-0, three minutes later. The Canadiens center embarrassed Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, icing on the cake after the Leafs defender made two lackluster efforts to keep the puck in the Habs end.
Eller's offensive game was perhaps overshadowed by his great work of shutting down the Leafs power play on the night. Overall the Canadiens penalty kill shut down the Leafs on all five occasions, limiting them to just five shots on goal.
With that it would be Reimer out, and Jonas Gustavsson in to start the third period. A lot of good that did as on the Canadiens capitalized on their first chance. Mathieu Darche's breakaway goal on the Monster at 1:24 was set up on a perfect clearing play by Price to Plekanec who then sent Darche on his way.
The Leafs continued to press for at least some respectability in the goal column, but were foiled by Price with some help from the goal posts.
David Desharnais had two assists and was 11-8 in the faceoff circle, enough to pick up a Third Star selection. Alexei Emelin continues to get better and better, laying out nine hits and playing 18:05 on the blueline.
The Canadiens return home to Montreal to face the Carolina Hurricanes, and former assistant coach Kirk Muller, on Monday.
Three Stars: 1. Carey Price 2. Tomas Plekanec 3. David Desharnais
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Losing reaction, and man are they upset, at our SBN partners Pension Plan Puppets