Montreal at Toronto

Maple Leafs surprise Eastern Conference-leading Canadiens


TORONTO -- The Montreal Canadiens went into their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs hoping to build on their Eastern Conference lead.

Not so fast.

Rookies Anton Stralman and Jiri Tlusty each scored two goals and the Maple Leafs beat the Canadiens 4-2 on Saturday night.

"We were looking for an easy game, but it wasn't easy," Christopher Higgins said.

It sure wasn't.

Nik Antropov added three assists for the Maple Leafs, who are playing for pride after being eliminated from playoff contention Thursday night.

Tom Kostopoulos and Mathieu Dandenault scored for the Canadiens, who failed to put more distance between them and the second-place Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference title race. Montreal was sloppy Friday night in Buffalo, but escaped with a late-game comeback.

"I knew we would have a bit of a letdown after clinching a playoff spot, but I didn't think it would last this long," coach Guy Carbonneau said. "We have three games left. We have to regroup and end the regular season on a good note."

Stralman got the game's first goal after a scoreless first period when his wrist shot from the point at 7:25 of the middle period beat a screened Jaroslav Halak top corner on the stick side.

Dandenault tied it 58 seconds later when Maxim Lapierre's shot banked off him and in behind Vesa Toskala, who made his 30th consecutive start.

Stralman put Toronto back ahead 2-1 with a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle at 9:33 that beat a yet-again screened Halak.

Tlusty, who also had an assist, added a pair of goals at 3:17 and 15:16 in third period to seal the victory. Kostopoulos scored with 16 seconds remaining.

The playoff-bound Canadiens were without captain Saku Koivu and offensive defenseman Mark Streit, out with foot injuries. The extent of the injuries won't be known until doctors take a closer look Monday in Montreal.

"Saku is a special player and he's our leader, we'll miss him for sure," Higgins said after Saturday's game. "Hopefully he's not out for long. But one of our advantages on this team is that we have depth. Guys step in and contribute."

Koivu and Streit were both injured during Friday's 4-3 overtime win in Buffalo, but played the entire game -- Koivu and Streit both assisting on the overtime winner by Higgins.


  • Toronto has three games remaining: Tuesday at home against Buffalo, Thursday at home against Ottawa and next Saturday at Montreal.
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Toronto gets a lift from Jiri Tlusty and Nik Antropov, who combine for six points.  (Getty Images)
Toronto gets a lift from Jiri Tlusty and Nik Antropov, who combine for six points. (Getty Images)
Related Links
Montreal (44-25-10)0112
Toronto  (36-33-10) «0224
Three Stars
A. Stralman

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
J. Tlusty

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
N. Antropov

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 3

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Scoring Summary
07:25Anton Stralman (2), Slap Shot. Assist: Nik Antropov, Jiri Tlusty
08:23Mathieu Dandenault (8), Wrap Shot. Assist: Maxim Lapierre, Sergei Kostitsyn
09:33Anton Stralman (3), Slap Shot, Unassisted.
03:17Jiri Tlusty (9), Slap Shot. Assist: Nik Antropov
15:16Jiri Tlusty (10), Tip-In. Assist: Nik Antropov, Pavel Kubina
19:44Tom Kostopoulos (7), Backhand Shot. Assist: Patrice Brisebois
Penalty Summary
01:40Tlusty, 2 min, Holding
05:55Higgins, 2 min, Roughing
09:00O'Byrne, 5 min, Elbowing
09:00O'Byrne, 10 min, Game Misconduct
16:39Kostopoulos, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice
46.0McCabe, 2 min, Elbowing
03:47Smolinski, 2 min, Hooking
15.0Bell, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
03:37Grabovski, 2 min, High-Sticking
08:36Kostopoulos, 2 min, Holding
13:10Lapierre, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice
17:25Antropov, 2 min, Cross-Checking
17:25Plekanec, 2 min, Slashing
Shots On Goal
Jaroslav Halak60:00334
Vesa Toskala60:00222
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Game Information
Attendance - 19584
Referees - Rob Shick, Chris Lee
Linesmen - Derek Amell, Steve Miller
Other Games
Chi 4 Final
StL 3
Phi 4 Final
Car 1 Final
TB 2
Wash 3 Final
Fla 0
Edm 2 Final
Cal 1
Dal 7 Final
LA 2
Ott 0 Final
Bos 4