When the rosters were released for Monday night’s game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs, many thought that the Leafs were ripe for the Canadiens to get their fifth straight win.
But pre-season hockey doesn’t work like that and the Maple Leafs rolled to a 3-0 victory at the Bell Centre.
Michael Hutchinson, battling for the backup spot behind Frederik Andersen, made 38 saves in the shutout but the Canadiens never really tested him throughout the night.
After an uneventful first period that saw the two teams trade power plays, Toronto took an early lead 1:05 into the second. Max Domi was in the penalty box for shooting the puck over the glass. It was the first of four penalties for the Canadiens in the period. Toronto had three of their own.
Nic Petan found Yegor Korshkov alone in front who beat Charlie Lindgren to make it 1-0.
Toronto doubled their lead 4:51 later when Darren Archibald drove to the net and put the puck past Lindgren. Adam Brooks was in the crease and appeared to make contact with Lindgren leading to Claude Julien challenging the call.
The call on the ice stood, and due to the NHL’s new rule, the Canadiens were given a delay of game penalty. While killing that penalty, Jake Evans took a tripping penalty to give Toronto a five-on-three. After that was killed, Brett Kulak took another penalty which was killed.
Montreal’s penalty killing went 4/5 on the night, but also went 0/4 on their own power plays and couldn’t really get much going.
As the second period ended with a 2-0 deficit, Montreal was trailing in shots 20-19.
The Canadiens came out strong in the third period as the Maple Leafs sat back a bit. They outshot Toronto 19-5 in the final period but couldn’t beat Hutchinson.
Korshkov scored the only goal of the period, his second of the night when he outmuscled Kulak for a loose puck and fired it past Lindgren.
Montreal’s best chances came from the duo of Max Domi and Tomas Tatar. Domi was showing his speed and stick skills throughout the game but dangerous chances were few and far between.
It was a typical pre-season game. Montreal’s top veterans may have been going through the motions while Toronto’s depth players were better than those on Montreal.
- Lindgren started in place of Price after he was a late scratch. Claude Julien says Price was dealing with a bruised glove hand and is day-to-day. That should mean that Keith Kinkaid will make the trip to Toronto and get the start on Wednesday while Price aims to start in the pre-season finale on Saturday.
- After the game, Montreal announced that Josh Brook, Jake Evans, and Alex Belzile were sent to the Laval Rocket. They all had flashes in main camp, and ultimately will be key players for the Rocket. Riley Barber will be on waivers at noon on Wednesday, which is a day off for the Canadiens. It wouldn’t shock me if other players were placed on waivers as well.