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Canadiens vs. Leafs Top Six Minutes: The Habs end a long night with a big two points

The Habs had their classic rivals on the ropes after the first, and despite surrendering a two goal lead, hung on to win the game in shootout.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, the Leafs honour Dave Keon, Tim Horton, and Turk Broda at the Air Canada Centre. The last time the Leafs had any measure of success, filmmaking was virtually in its infancy, so we're treated to highlights shot with the same camera that recorded the crash of the Hindenburg.

In an interview with Scott Morrison on HNIC, Keon says he didn't feel like a Leaf when he retired, and that is was a while before he could again. By all accounts, Keon is a classy, traditional player who really seems to put team first, but also believes deeply in concepts of honour and respecting legends the right way. The Toronto Maple Leafs basically forbid Keon from playing out the rest of his career after an acrimonious split from the team. You can see where there'd be some bad blood.

Maybe this is the night Montreal returns to form, and makes Dave Keon shudder at the thought of walking the streets in a Toronto jersey. The Habs need it, because of late, Montreal fans have been watching the team in horror. It's been one disaster after another.

Oh, the humanity.

First Period

  • Keon, the only living honouree tonight, looks sharp and composed in a bowtie ensemble as he steps out to an ovation. What a poindexter!
  • The Habs, of course, have Desharnais centering Galchenyuk and Weise. Michel Therrien is daring Bergevin to fire him, even after the vote of confidence in this week's press conference. It's a bold strategy, Cotton.
  • And of course - of course! - Weise offers a nifty pass to David Desharnais, who shelfs it past a hapless Reimer to open the scoring. 1-0 Habs, and sure. Of course. Why not? I'll take it.
  • I've been getting into fancy stats lately, so stay with me here: the Montreal power play is 9.9% since December 1st. 9.9 = 99 = Wayne Gretzky's number. Wayne Gretzky was a good hockey player; the Habs are due. It's in the math.
  • Montreal doesn't score, which means they definitely will next time.
  • The crowd launches a Bronx cheer in response to the Leafs' first shot coming from a backhand dump in from centre.
  • Mike Babcock - who I insist on calling "Mr. Bobcack," for reasons unknown even to me - can't be happy with a Toronto team that has mustered one shot to this point. Oh, and that shot? A floater from 79 feet out.
  • Another beautifully patient play by the Montreal forwards, as Lars Eller backs off the defense and tees it up for Fleischmann, who rifles a wrister to make it 2-0 Montreal. Looks like it may have hit a Carr on its way by.
  • It did, and Gallagher 2.0 has his 6th of the season. I can't imagine he gets sent down again this year.
  • The period ends, and Mike Bobcack tries to find gear that will fit Keon to start the second.

Second Period

  • Dale Weise finds James Reimer in front of the crease and is given an interference penalty. The Leafs open the second with a PP.
  • Toronto is really bringing the pressure here, and Rich Clune has been one of the Leafs more effective players. He's got a real hate to his game tonight, and is bringing the game to the net and its defenders.
  • For those of you watching the CBC broadcast, you may have heard that tonight is the introduction of 4K broadcasting, a picture that is four times better than HD. This fact will be repeated every eighteen seconds for the remainder of the night. It is the greatest accomplishment of the Toronto Maple Leafs since Keon skated.
  • Nazem Kadri beats Pacioretty to a pass in front of the Montreal net, and it's 2-1 as he bats it past Condon. Bergevin: "That's on me."
  • Dion Phaneuf, he of intangibles and leadership and grit, immediately takes a penalty by hitting Galchenyuk from behind.
  • Here comes the Habs' power play!
  • The Leafs answer back with a very dangerous powerplay of their own, coming close to tying it up on several sequences. I have to say, by this point in the season, I'm expecting it.
  • In spite of those expectations, the period ends with the Habs still leading. Plenty of time for heartbreak yet!

Third Period

  • Stop me if you've heard this before, but Lars Eller is having a great game, as he won't get enough credit for it.
  • Joffrey Lupul jumps on a rebound, finishing a 3-on-2 and tying the game. Ha ha! This is truly a funny turn of events, and I am laughing it off. Please remove all sharp objects from my immediate vicinity.
  • Brendan Gallagher finds a bouncing puck, splits the D and Reimer comes across to absolutely rob him.
  • I love Alex Galchenyuk, and I never want to see him leave the Habs, but does anybody on this team miss more shots than he does?
  • Daniel Carr, who played Peeta in The Hunger Games film series, has been strong tonight. You'd think that Therrien would have put him in the top six tonight, maybe replacing Weise in the third, but the blender hasn't come out yet.
  • Brendan Gallagher turns and fires one past Reimer off a faceoff, but the puck hits the far post and rolls across the line. Ain't that just the way.
  • I really miss winning games comfortably. I miss not worrying about the outcome for most of the game. Maybe I just miss winning games, period.
  • With three minutes remaining, Montreal gets a power play, and Mr. Bobcack looks very intense indeed.
  • Andrei Markov and Dale Weise out on this crucial power play. This team. The penalty expires harmlessly, and suddenly we're heading to overtime.
  • The shots? 26-15 in favour of Montreal. Just think: another fifty years of this, and I'll understand what it's like to be a Leafs fan.


  • I'm going to indulge in a little shameless begging. Please, please, please let us win this game against this horrible hockey team. Please. I'm desperate.
  • Mike Condon calmly turns aside a rush from Tyler Bozak, the Anglo Desharnais.
  • Barberio out there with Plekanec and Gallagher. I don't think we'll be seeing Markov in tonight's 3-on-3. Just a hunch.
  • PA Parenteau catches David Desharnais bearing down on a breakaway, because of course he does. We all know he's going to go full PA in the shootout, right? Can we tell Mike Condon?


  • Which of these loser teams is better? The only way to find out is the shootout!
  • Peter Holland scores.
  • Alex Galchenyuk does not.
  • Some lunatic suggested trying PK at forward this week. That's crazy talk, but shouldn't we at least put him in the shootout?
  • Here's PA. He does not score. He is the problem.
  • ...Brian Flynn? Is shooting? Haha, ok. Yeah, he missed.
  • Patches! The captain snipes one and ties it up.
  • Bozak and Desharnais exchange misses, which makes sense, since they are virtually the same person.
  • Joffrey Loophole can't find one, and the Habs have a shot to win it with Lars Eller.
  • He scores! Montreal wins! What is this supposed to feel like!?

The game ends with a Montreal win, a sentence I haven't had the good fortune to type in some time. Let's see if the team can keep this rolling through their next few games, beginning with Columbus on Monday.


David Desharnais opens the scoring in the first
Daniell Carr has one go off him and in

EOTP 3 Stars

3 at least it's in colour


2 Small victories


1 GeneralWüstenfuchs pulls off the Maurice Richard with a clean sweep of the stars, thanks to this prognostication