MONTREAL - The Canadiens are seeking their third consecutive victory on Monday night at the Bell Centre.
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The Habs secured their second straight come-from-behind win on Saturday night, edging the Senators 3-2 in overtime at the Bell Centre. Ottawa was ahead 2-0 in the third period on goals by Tim Stützle and Thomas Chabot, but Dominique Ducharme's squad fought back. Defenseman Jeff Petry cut the lead in half, before right-winger Tyler Toffoli scored the game-tying goal on the power play with 5:35 remaining in regulation. That set the stage for rookie Cole Caufield's dramatic game-winner at the 2:25 mark of the extra frame on a splendid feed from Petry. Goaltender Cayden Primeau made 21 saves to pick up his first win of the season with Montreal.
It was a key victory for the Canadiens, who moved within two points of the Winnipeg Jets for third place in the North Division standings. Both clubs have six games left on their respective schedules, so the battle for postseason position down the stretch should be fun to watch.
The Calgary Flames, meanwhile, now trail the Canadiens by eight points for the fourth and final playoff spot in the division. Calgary has six games remaining as well.
A tally to remember: Caufield's first career NHL goal was a byproduct of the incredible effort the 20-year-old right-winger has delivered since joining the big club. Through four games, Caufield has certainly had his fair share of scoring chances while amassing 12 shots on opposing netminders. The 2021 Hobey Baker Award winner made no mistake when he saw Petry entering the Senators' zone in overtime, skating hard to the net with his stick at the ready to tip Petry's pass beyond Senators starter Filip Gustavsson. It's clearly a sign of good things to come for Caufield, who lit up the NCAA ranks this season with 52 points (30 goals, 32 assists) just 31 games before turning pro and quickly making headlines with the AHL's Laval Rocket.
Leading by example: With captain Shea Weber on the sidelines for a second straight game due to injury, Petry stepped up versus Ottawa. Along with collecting the primary assist on the OT winner, his 12th goal of the year gave the Canadiens life in the final frame. It was Petry's first goal since March 13, snapping a 22-game scoring drought. The 33-year-old Michigan State University product is only one tally shy of matching the career-high 13 goals he registered in 82 games during the 2018-19 campaign. Heading into Monday night's encounter, the 11-year veteran ranks second on the roster with 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists), just three points back of Toffoli, who was the first Canadiens player to reach the 40-point plateau this year. Petry is currently riding a four-game point streak, amassing five points (1 goal, 4 assists) during that span.
On fire: Only three players in the League have more goals than Toffoli, who boasts 27, including Auston Matthews (38), Connor McDavid (29) and Mikko Rantanen (28), so he's obviously among the game's elite in that department. Toffoli has been unstoppable of late, scoring six times in his last seven contests. The Canadiens' sniper has linemate Nick Suzuki to thank for his latest goal. The 21-year-old centreman made an outstanding pass to set up his one-timer that evaded Gustavsson and ultimately forced overtime. Speaking of Suzuki, he extended his point streak to five games on the play. Suzuki has seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) during that stretch.
At the other end
Matthews led the Maple Leafs to their fifth straight win on Saturday night, scoring twice in a 5-1 triumph over the Vancouver Canucks at Scotiabank Arena. Forwards Adam Brooks, Alex Galchenyuk and Joe Thornton also scored for Toronto, while right-winger Mitch Marner collected his 45th and 46th assists of the season. Goaltender Jack Campbell made 26 saves to improve his record to 15-2-1 on the year.
Sheldon Keefe's squad sits atop the North Division with 71 points and has already clinched a playoff berth. The Maple Leafs are nine points clear of the second-place Edmonton Oilers.
Crazy numbers: What more can be said about Matthews' unique ability to find the back of the net? Not much at this point. With 38 goals in 47 games, the 23-year-old pivot is scoring at a rate of 0.809 goals per outing, which would be the best in the NHL since 2000-01 when Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux averaged 0.814 for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Matthews' second goal on Saturday night was also his third consecutive game-winner for Toronto. He boasts a League-leading 12 game-winning goals this season, two more than McDavid, and he's only one shy of tying Charlie Conacher for the franchise record set in 1934-35. The Maple Leafs are 7-1-1 when Matthews scores multiple goals this year. The San Ramon, CA native has registered 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) in seven games versus Montreal since mid-January.
On a roll: Marner has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) while riding a six-game point streak for Toronto, which is why he sits atop the team's scoring list with 64 points (18 goals, 46 assists) in 51 games. The 23-year-old Markham, ON native is two points clear of Matthews and ranks third in the League in that category behind only McDavid (87 points) and Leon Draisaitl (71 points). Like Matthews, Marner has been productive against the Canadiens this season, collecting eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) in seven games.
Seriously stingy: The Maple Leafs have surrendered just one goal in each of their last four games. Campbell started three of those contests, turning aside 83 of 86 shots, which translates into a sparkling .965 save percentage. That included the 29-year-old Port Huron, MI native's 32-save performance against the Canadiens on April 28 at the Bell Centre when Toronto secured a 4-1 victory. Along with Campbell's aforementioned record, he owns a 2.07 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage in 18 starts, along with two shutouts. Newcomer David Rittich started on April 29 versus Vancouver and made 15 saves for his first win with Toronto since being acquired in a trade with Calgary ahead of the trade deadline.
Here are a few key stats from the seven previous meetings between Toronto and Montreal this season:
|TORONTO || ||MONTREAL |
|5-2-0 ||Record ||2-4-1 |
|24 ||Goals ||18 |
|193 ||Shots on goal ||217 |
|33.3% ||PP% ||25% |
|75% ||PK% ||66.7% |
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on TSN2, Sportsnet Ontario and RDS, and listen to all the action on TSN Radio 690 and 98,5 fm.