Toronto at Montreal

Leafs hand Canadiens first regulation loss of season


MONTREAL -- Matt Stajan enjoyed adding the latest bit of lore to the NHL's longest-standing rivalry.

Stajan scored late in the third period to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

The 23-year-old center ended a nine-game goal drought when he broke down the right side and put a slap shot past Cristobal Huet with 1:34 remaining in the third and Toronto went on to its first win in three games.

"I let it fire and I heard a metal thump," Stajan said. "I knew it was the middle bar behind the goalie and I saw the red light go on, and the rest is history. It's a great feeling."

Tomas Kaberle and Mats Sundin also scored for the Maple Leafs, who lost 3-2 in New Jersey one night earlier.

Vesa Toskala, who turned aside 18 shots on Friday, felt fine despite a heavy workload in a 32-save outing. The Finnish goalie claimed the only time he felt the effects of starting on consecutive nights was on a lengthy Canadiens cycle that led to defenseman Mike Komisarek's tying goal late in the first.

"I was sucking wind after that," Toskala said.

Chris Higgins scored the other goal for the Canadiens, who lost in regulation for the first time in seven games (5-1-1).

"I thought coming into this building on a Saturday night on back-to-back nights, with them rested and them rolling the way they are, to win in regulation, it's a great outing for us," Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said.

Bryan Smolinski assisted on both Montreal goals.

It was the second meeting of the season between the two teams, who have faced each other every season since the league was formed in 1917. Kaberle scored the overtime winner in Toronto's 4-3 win over Montreal on Oct. 6.

"They played a smart game," Canadiens captain Saku Koivu said. "They played well defensively, they didn't force anything and then they got the winner in the end."

Huet made 28 saves, including a fine glove stop on Jason Blake 4:52 into the third.

"Obviously it's frustrating to lose a big game like that late in the game," Huet said. "We had our ups and downs in the game but it's a shame to see it finish that way."

Sundin tied it at 2 when he was credited with his eighth goal of the season at 6:04 of the second period. The Maple Leafs captain centered the puck from behind the net and watched in delight as it bounced off Montreal right wing Mathieu Dandenault's skate and past Huet.

Huet caught a break moments later after he misplayed a puck behind his own net. The Canadiens goalie took too much time handling the puck and had it stripped by Nik Antropov, who centered the puck.

With a shot at a wide open left side, Chad Kilger put the puck wide as Huet scrambled back into the crease.

Kaberle opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the season on a power play 1:18 in.

Komisarek scored late in the first to tie it at 1, and Higgins got his sixth goal on a 5-on-3 opportunity early in the second to put the Canadiens up 2-1.


  • The Maple Leafs played on consecutive nights for the second time this season. Toronto lost its home opener 4-3 to Ottawa in overtime on Oct. 3, and dropped a 3-2 decision to the Senators in the Canadian capital the following night.
  • The Canadiens have yet to trail after the first period this season.
  • LW Mikhail Grabovski was a healthy scratch for Montreal.
Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Toronto's Matt Stajan (second left) gets swarmed after scoring the decisive goal in the third period.  (AP)
Toronto's Matt Stajan (second left) gets swarmed after scoring the decisive goal in the third period. (AP)
Toronto  (6-6-3) «1113
Montreal (7-3-3)1102
Three Stars
M. Sundin

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
C. Higgins

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
T. Kaberle

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

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Scoring Summary
01:18Power Play - Tomas Kaberle (5), Slap Shot. Assist: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Matt Stajan
16:46Mike Komisarek (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Mathieu Dandenault, Bryan Smolinski
02:33Power Play - Christopher Higgins (7), Slap Shot. Assist: Andrei Markov, Bryan Smolinski
06:04Mats Sundin (8), Wrist Shot. Assist: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Ian White
18:26Matt Stajan (4), Slap Shot. Assist: Ian White
Penalty Summary
44.0Dandenault, 2 min, Tripping
14:07Wozniewski, 2 min, Holding
39.0Sundin, 2 min, Hooking
01:37Devereaux, 2 min, Slashing
01:21Latendresse, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice
19:55Markov, 2 min, Holding
Shots On Goal
Vesa Toskala59:28322
Cristobal Huet59:01283
Game Information
Attendance - 21273
Referees - Paul Devorski, Chris Lee
Linesmen - Derek Amell, Tim Nowak
Other Games
Ana 5 Final
Pho 2
NJ 1 Final
Pitt 2 Final
Chi 3 Final
StL 2
Van 4 Final
Colo 3
SJ 3 Final
LA 1
Atl 6 Final
TB 4
Fla 2 Final
Car 4
Cal 1 Final
Min 4
Bos 2 Final
Ott 3