TORONTO - Here are a few key storylines from Saturday night's 6-5 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.
Character = comeback
Facing a high-flying Toronto Maple Leafs team, the Canadiens had a bit of a rough go of it despite scoring in the first two minutes of action and were trailing 4-1 with 14:44 left in regulation.
Captain Shea Weber, who earned two crucial assists on the night, was pleased his group was able to reframe their mindset heading into the final frame.
"We talked about it in here. It wasn't a great start for us. For whatever reason, they were just on top of us for a couple of periods," outlined Weber. "We got a little bit better and we didn't panic. We hit the reset button. We said that all it was going to take was 20 minutes, and it did."
Head coach Claude Julien gave a lot of credit to his leadership group for driving the turnaround, which saw Montreal score four unanswered goals to take a 5-4 lead late in the third period before Auston Matthews would tie things up to send it to extra time with 75 seconds to go.
"I think all good teams have leaders like that; you need them," praised Julien. "That's why they're recognized as leaders, because when things get tough, they're able to take charge."
Video: Claude Julien's postgame press conference
A key member of that leadership group is goaltender Carey Price, who might not have enjoyed the way the contest started out, but certainly enjoyed the way it finished.
"It was extremely entertaining. Things were looking a little bleak going into the second intermission, but we were able to stay positive, rally the troops, and have a big third," shared Price. "I think that was fun to watch for everybody involved."
Video: Carey Price on the exciting win in Toronto
The penalty shot
A key turning point in the game came with 6:58 left to go in the third. Up a man, the Canadiens were awarded a penalty shot after Kasperi Kapanen threw his broken stick at Jeff Petry. Given the rarity of the situation, there was some confusion as to what call the officials would end up making.
"We thought we were going five-on-three - even [the Maple Leafs] did; their guys skated to the box - and the refs were telling them to get back to the bench because it was a penalty shot," described Weber.
Video: Shea Weber on the penalty shot call
Petry, for his part, wasn't expecting to be the one to be given the attempt.
"I've seen guys throw their stick at the puck but never at someone. No one knew the ruling on it; I saw the ref's arm go up," recounted Petry. "Originally they said anybody can take it and then they changed and said anybody on the ice, and then they said it had to be me. So it was a weird way it played out."
Video: Jeff Petry on his penalty shot goal
The Michigan-born defender managed to beat Toronto starter Michael Hutchinson to tie the game at 4-4. And had the penalty shot happened in practice, Petry might've beaten Price with his moves, too.
"I thought he was going to go blocker side; I didn't expect him to go low glove. We'll have to use him more, I guess," cracked Price.
The Maple Leafs may have lit the lamp five times at Price's expense, but the All-World netminder made some unbelievable stops on Toronto's high-powered offense to keep his squad in the game, and his 32-save effort did not go unnoticed by his teammates,
"He made some big saves, [John] Tavares having a breakaway. Without those key saves, the game is over. He kept us in it and gave us the opportunity to take it to a shootout and then made big saves there," Petry said of Price, who stopped Matthews, Mitch Marner, and Tavares to help seal the deal. "We were able to get the two points."
Forward Max Domi, who scored the game's opening goal at the 1:08 mark, noted that when Price turns on the switch, there's not much the opposition can do to get pucks by him, no matter how talented they may be.
"He's unbelievable. I've said it many times that he's the best goalie in the world for a reason. He just keeps showing it every night; it's crazy how good he is. He kept us in it. We left him hanging a little bit in the first two, so we owed him; we told him that. We delivered, he held his ground and was his own self," concluded Domi. "You can't score on that guy when he's dialed in like that."
Video: Max Domi on the character comeback win