TORONTO – Mitch Morner scored his 20th goal of the season as the Toronto Maple Leaves beat Montreal Canadians 3-2 on Saturday night to take first place in the Northern Division.
William Nylander and Pierre Engwall scored for Toronto (35-13-6). Jack Campbell made 21 saves.
With the original six rivals ready to meet in the playoffs for the first time since 1979, the leaves ended the NHL’s 56-game campaign against the Canadians 7-2-1.
Toronto won the division title for the first time since 2000 – the fourth time in 83 years.
Nick Suzuki and Brett Gulag responded to Montreal (24-21-9) with 23 stops from Jack Allen.
– Sportsnet (p Sportsnet) May 9, 2021
The Canadians, who have a chance to finish fourth and final playoff in the North on Saturday, are offering the Edmonton Oilers on Monday and Wednesday to close their regular season schedule. Meanwhile, Leaves visits Ottawa senators Wednesday and Winnipeg jets two nights later.
Leaf sniper Aston Mathews, who led the NHL with 40 goals and ensured his first Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy, failed to find the back of the net for the first time in six games, but won directly face Marner’s forward effort late in the second period. The 23-year-old Matthews’ personal five-game goal against Montreal came to an end.
Already minus opening goalie Gary Price (concussion), captain Shea Weber (upper-body), winger Brendan Gallagher (broken arm), forward Paul Byrne (lower body) and winger Jonathan Druin (individual), the Canadians announced in front of the sports center a Philip Donald Deals with concussion.
Toronto were still without Zack Hyman (knee) and Nick Foligno (upper body), as well as defender Zack Pogosian (shoulder).
Campbell will be looking to bounce back with a 2-0 lead following Suzuki’s 13th goal at the start of the second period, when Elval got the wheel off Allen’s net – fired into the sixth home – and the second in two – at 5:02.
After a good stop by Josh Anderson from a slot in a Montreal Powerplay, Campbell equalized for Toronto with 13:36, while John Tavares sent Jack Musin’s pass back to Nylander on the right side of the slot, where he dropped his 17th. Matches.
The leaves advanced with 3:27 remaining in the period when Matthews neatly knocked down Suzuki in the offensive zone draw, allowing Marner’s Allen to wire his 20th outside the crossbar in the blink of an eye. The 24-year-old winger now has three 20-goal seasons since his NHL debut in 2016, and was ashamed of a mark before the 2019-20 campaign was stopped by the Cowd-19.
Allen put Mathews on a good pad in third from eight minutes to keep Montreal within one. Campbell, who advanced 17-2-2, kept the leaves with a good stop on Tyler Tofoli with 28 goals just minutes later.
After trailing 4-0 in the first leg after losing 5-2 in Toronto on Thursday, the Canadians got off to a great start, opening the second Saturday of the Gulac with a score of 3:34. As the Canadians took a 1-0 lead for the first time in their last seven games, the defenseman’s double-caught point shot saw Campbell before and last.
The best chance of the leaves during this period came from Marner’s stick, which forced a good pad to save Allen from the slot.
Just before Toronto exploded three straights, Suzuki moved 2-for-1, exited from inside Campbell’s blocker and bounced over that line, while Montreal advanced 2 seconds to 31 seconds.
Notes: No. 1 goalie Frederick Anderson of the Leopards stopped 38 shots at 34 in his first full game since March 19 in a 5-4 shootout loss to Manitoba Moose in the American Hockey League match on Saturday afternoon. “Something around my knee.” … Canadians forward Alex Belsail, 29, made his regular season NHL debut last summer after playing six times for Montreal within the expanded playoff format.