TORONTO (Ticker) -- Robert Reichel ended Jose Theodore's bid for a third straight shutout early.
Reichel scored just 70 seconds into the contest and the Toronto Maple Leafs were in control throughout, posting a 4-1 victory over the rival Montreal Canadiens in a matinee affair at the Air Canada Centre.
Coming off consecutive 1-0 victories over the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins, Theodore again was spectacular but did not get much help. The Maple Leafs outshot the punchless Canadiens, 46-22, to remain four points behind the first-place Boston Bruins in the Northeast Division.
Toronto earned its first win in three tries against Montreal this season. The two previous meetings ended in ties.
"Tonight was one of our better efforts of the season," said Toronto's Darcy Tucker, a former Canadien. "We put a lot of pucks on net and had a lot of traffic."
|Doug Gilmour wasn't a factor as the Leafs dropped the Canadiens.|
Graig Abel Photography
After Shayne Corson gave the Maple Leafs a 2-0 lead with 9:45 left in the first period, Theodore kept the Canadiens in the game. He made 19 saves in the second period, including seven on Doug Gilmour's slashing penalty with 6:56 left.
Sergei Berezin's power-play goal while Toronto was two men down got Montreal on the board with 8:33 left in the second, but Travis Green delivered the backbreaker for the Canadiens, flipping a backhander past Theodore with just 3.5 seconds to go in the period.
Jyrki Lumme fired the puck from deep in his end into an empty net to cap the scoring with 71 seconds to play.
"We wanted to get the puck to the net, create some ruckus, get to the net a little bit more than we have been in the past, get the second and third chances as well because most of the time he's (Theodore) going to make the first stop," said Corson, a former Canadien. "He's a great goalie."
Theodore, who has named the first game's first star 13 times this season, came into the contest with a 2.08 goals-against average and had stopped 171 of the last 180 shots he faced. The loss was just Montreal's second in its last seven games (4-2-1) and left the Canadiens tied with the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers for seventh overall in the Eastern Conference.
Rebounding from Thursday's 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders, the Maple Leafs came out flying, outshooting the Canadiens 14-5 in the first period. Toronto also had 11 shots miss the net in the opening 20 minutes.
"The first goal is important any night," Corson said. "We got off to a good start, that's the important thing. He's been unbelievable the last few games."
Reichel scored off a scramble in the front to give the Maple Leafs an early lead and almost had another goal with eight minutes left in the period. His slap shot bounced off Theodore's glove and the puck straddled the goal line before it was cleared away.
Two minutes earlier, Corson took a cross-ice feed from Tucker and stuffed the puck inside the left post to make it 2-0.
"It's nice to get a win against your old team," Tucker said. "It's fun to play in that rivalry. The rivalry is something that really heats up over time. The rivalry will last as long as the game of hockey lasts."
Berezin poked in Yanic Perreault's rebound to account for the Canadiens' lone goal. However, the Maple Leafs continued to carry the play, outshooting Montreal 20-7 in the middle period.
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