MONTREAL (AP) _ Yanic Perreault and the Montreal Canadiens got the upper
hand in the latest renewal of the NHL's oldest rivalry.
Perreault scored midway through the third period to lift the Canadiens to a
4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
Michael Ryder scored late in the second to draw Montreal even for the second
time in the period at 3-3.
Richard Zednik, who scored his 25th of the season to tie it at 2, set up the
go-ahead goal to the delight of the majority in the sellout crowd of 21,273.
Zednik rushed down the left side before passing to Perreault, who drove the
net and lifted a shot over Ed Belfour for his 14th goal at 9:33.
``There was a lot of intensity, a lot of emotion going on,'' Canadiens
captain Saku Koivu said. ``When you're able to come from behind and win the
game with the atmosphere like we had tonight, it is a great night. And for our
confidence, winning against a team that's ahead of us is a good thing.''
Jose Theodore made 22 saves, and Mike Ribeiro also scored for Montreal,
which has points in 10 of 11 games (9-1-0-1).
Matt Stajan, Joe Nieuwendyk and Drake Berehowsky scored for Toronto, which
was unbeaten in seven games in Montreal.
Newly acquired Maple Leafs center Ron Francis was impressed by the
atmosphere in the Bell Centre, which included plenty of support for the
``It was awesome,'' said Francis, who assisted on Stajan's goal for his
first point in two games with the Maple Leafs. ``It reminded me of an English
soccer match with everything going on in the stands. It was a great atmosphere.
It's just too bad we didn't come away with a win.''
The Maple Leafs, losers of three of four, have 88 points and trail Boston
for the Northeast Division lead by three.
``I don't like how we're playing right now,'' Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn
said. ``Our big line didn't have a sniff all night. They played against their
checking line and got nothing because they didn't work for it.''
The Canadiens, who have missed the playoffs four of the last five seasons,
tied New Jersey for sixth in the Eastern Conference with 85 points.
``The intensity was really high,'' Perreault said. ``We're trying to improve
our ranking. The Leafs are one of the top teams in the league and it was a big
challenge for us. To be able to show that we can play.''
Ribeiro opened the scoring with his 19th goal 6:38 in when he swept across
the goal mouth to beat Belfour.
Newly acquired Maple Leafs center Ron Francis set up Stajan's 14th at 10:21
for his first Toronto point.
Nieuwendyk scored his 17th just 1:13 into the second to put Toronto up 2-1
before Zednik tied it again with his 25th at 9:28.
Berehowsky finished off a two-on-one with Alex Mogilny at 12:19 to put the
Maple Leafs ahead again.
Ryder got his 21st at 17:43 when he scored on a second-effort shot, wristing
the puck past Belfour inside the right post.