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MTL@TOR: Game Recap

The Canadiens couldn't battle back after surrendering four goals in the first period

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

TORONTO - The Canadiens suffered their second straight loss on Thursday night, falling 5-2 to the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.

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Interim head coach Dominique Ducharme welcomed left-winger Tomas Tatar back into the lineup after a five-game absence with a lower-body injury.

The 30-year-old Slovak suited up for his first game since April 26, skating with Phillip Danault and Cole Caufield.

Tatar replaced veteran Michael Frolik versus Toronto.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Il est de retour. 🐟Tuna's back. #GoHabsGo

For his part, 21-year-old goaltender Cayden Primeau made his third start of the season for the Canadiens.

It was his first career appearance against the Maple Leafs.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: La formation de ce soir.Tonight's lineup.#GoHabsGo | @TSN690

Sheldon Keefe's squad struck first, lighting the lamp just 16 seconds into the opening frame.

Left-winger Alex Galchenyuk corralled a loose puck in the slot and beat Primeau with a backhander for his fifth goal of the season.

Tweet from @MapleLeafs: Galchenyuk gets us going! #LeafsForever

Forwards William Nylander and John Tavares assisted on Galchenyuk's tally.

Tavares picked up his second point of the night 3:08 later when he scored his 18th goal of the year, beating Primeau on a rebound off a shot by defenseman Jake Muzzin.

That gave the Maple Leafs a commanding 2-0 lead.

Tweet from @MapleLeafs: Heeeere's Johnny������#LeafsForever

Keefe's contingent wasn't done yet, though.

Left-winger Pierre Engvall made it 3-0 for the home side at the 10:38 mark of the stanza with a goal that Primeau will definitely want back.

Tweet from @MapleLeafs: Off to the races 🐎#LeafsForever

Centreman Jason Spezza and defenseman T.J. Brodie assisted on Engvall's fifth snipe of the campaign.

Right-winger Mitch Marner gave the Maple Leafs a 4-0 lead at the 17:23 mark of the period, capping a solid solo effort with his 19th goal of the season.

Left-winger Joe Thornton and defenseman Rasmus Sandin assisted on Marner's tally.

Tweet from @MapleLeafs: ��� MAGIC ���#LeafsForever

That's the way things stood after 20 minutes.

Primeau surrendered four goals on 15 shots in the frame, while the Canadiens fired nine shots on Toronto starter Jack Campbell.

Given the scoreline, Primeau was replaced by Jake Allen to start the second period.

The Canadiens also confirmed that Danault wouldn't return after playing just 3:26 in the first.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Phillip Danault ne reviendra pas au jeu ce soir. Phillip Danault will not return to the game tonight.

Caufield cut into the Maple Leafs' lead when he converted a perfect feed from right-winger Corey Perry at the 13:30 mark of the frame.

It was his third goal of the season and his third tally in the last four games.

It was also the first even-strength goal of the 20-year-old American's young career at 5-on-5.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Caufield marque son 3e but en 4 matchs. Caufield nets his 3rd in 4 games.#GoHabsGo

Veteran Eric Staal was credited with an assist on the play as well.

The Canadiens trailed 4-1 after 40 minutes and were outshot 25-14 at the break.

Left-winger Artturi Lehkonen cut the Maple Leafs' lead to 4-2 when he scored just 3:04 into the third period.

The 25-year-old Finn banged in a rebound off a shot by right-winger Tyler Toffoli for his sixth goal of the season.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Lehkonen saute sur un retour pour r��duire l'��cart �� deux buts.Lehky jumps on the rebound to make it a two-goal game.#GoHabsGo

Toffoli extended his point streak to five games on the play.

Defenseman Jeff Petry also assisted on Lehkonen's goal.

Centreman Auston Matthews gave the Maple Leafs a 5-2 lead with his League-leading 40th goal of the year.

Tweet from @MapleLeafs: Auston Matthews 🤝 40 goals#LeafsForever

Marner and Muzzin assisted on Matthews' snipe with 4:19 left in regulation.

That's the way things finished up.

Allen made 19 saves in relief of Primeau.

The Canadiens will close out their three-game road trip with a rematch against the Maple Leafs on Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena.

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