Video: MTL@TOR: Matthews beats Price with bouncing puck
1. Matthews opens scoring with a rare wobbling puck that gets past Price. The Canadiens and Leafs renewed their storied rivalry Saturday in Toronto, and with a full house at the ACC looking on, centre Auston Matthews scored the first goal of the night - and his team-leading 29th of the season - on a shot from the blueline that somehow wobbled past Habs netminder Carey Price at 10:54 of the opening period.
At first glance, it appeared winger James van Riemsdyk deflected Matthews' shot into the net, but replays showed the puck ricocheted in off the skate of Montreal defenceman Nikita Nesterov. Matthews has showed incredible skill in scoring most of his goals this season, but this one was proof sometimes a player does well simply to get the puck toward the net and hope good fortune smiles upon them.
2. Canadiens pull even on Pacioretty's second period power play marker. In losing four of their past five games heading into Saturday's action, Montreal has had difficulty scoring, posting just six goals in that span and being shut out twice. But that difficulty eases for any team that has a man advantage, and Toronto gave Montreal three power plays in the first 27 minutes of the game - and on the third one, Habs winger Max Pacioretty blasted a shot that beat Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen at the 7:29 mark of the middle frame to tie the score at a goal apiece.
Andersen had been stellar for the Buds prior to the goal, and really couldn't be faulted on it, as Pacioretty netted his 29th of the season thanks to his terrific slap shot. But despite playing a spirited game and outshooting Montreal 24-16 through 40 minutes, Toronto needed to improve its discipline.
3. Galchenyuk gives Habs first lead of the night. The Leafs maintained pressure on the Habs after Pacioretty's goal, but they did give Montreal a number of openings in which to drive at Andersen, who rose to the challenge virtually every time. However, a lapse in coverage with 3:39 left in the second period led to centre Alex Galchenyuk getting the puck all alone in front of Toronto's net, and Galchenyuk beat him over his glove to register his 13th goal of the year and put the Canadiens in front for the first time Saturday.
This was the final regular-season meeting between the two Original Six rivals, and although Montreal had emerged victorious in all three previous games, the first two games were 2-1 wins and the third was a 5-3 win. They've all been competitive, close contests, and Saturday's tilt was no difference. Toronto needed to keep its mistakes to an absolute minimum - Price has earned his reputation as one of the NHL's best goalies, and was solid throughout the evening - and the Atlantic Division-leading Habs made the most of the openings the Buds gave them.
Video: MTL@TOR: Matthews tallies his 30th goal of the season
4. Matthews tips in Hyman shot to tie game, join exclusive club in Leafs history. Matthews has had as tremendous a rookie season as anyone can ask for, and the 19-year-old continued adding to his list of accomplishments by registering his 30th goal of the year at the 1:19 mark of the third period when he deflected winger Zach Hyman's shot toward the net past Price.
Mathews' marker put him in an elite club in franchise history, as he became just the third Leafs rookie to hit the 30-goal plateau. He's now only four goals away from tying Toronto icon Wendel Clark's team-record 34-goal campaign in 1985-86, and he has 21 games left to try and get there. More importantly, he put Toronto back into a tie with the Habs in an important game and push it to extra time.
5. Shaw nets overtime winner, but Leafs earn valuable standings point in playoff push. The Leafs had a couple of excellent chances to win the game in overtime - including a breakaway for Matthews that Price got a piece of - but Montreal got the game-winner on Andrew Shaw's ninth goal of the year at the 1:09 mark. Shaw broke in alone on Andersen, who moved out of his crease and up the ice in an attempt to poke the loose puck away from the Canadiens centre, but Shaw got to it first and deked around the Leafs netminder before poking it home.
The end result wasn't the best for the Leafs, but they did earn another valuable point in the standings and now have matched their entire point total from last season. As they continue driving toward a playoff berth, every point will matter - and this one could prove to be crucial.