Montreal lose to Toronto.
The Montreal Canadiens have lowered their guard just a bit and were defeated by 4-2 to a hungry Toronto Maple Leafs team at the Bell centre yesterday.
The home record for the Canadiens is still a problem as the team has not won two games in a row on their home ice since too long already. Tonight, Toronto was expected to rebound from a humiliating 0-8 loss to the Florida Panthers.
Head coach Guy Carbonneau has warned his team that the Leafs would be tough to play but even with the coache's warning, Toronto dominated most of the matchup. The only offensive production came from the red hot Montreal line as Tomas Plekanec with his 20th goal and Alex Kovalev on a Plekanec assist scored for Montreal. The other three offensive lines, modified before the second period by Carbonneau never clicked.
For tonight, Toronto can still hope that they have just begun a serious winning streak. The Leafs needs to bunch up wins right now to stay in the hunt. The goal scorers for Toronto were Kris Newbury (1st of the season), Darcy Tucker, Kyle Wellwood and again Tucker with his second of the night during the final minute in an empty net. Vesa Toskala played better as the game went on in net and made 34 saves on 36 shots.
Montreal's rookie 20-year old goaltender Carey Price, was back in NHL action after spending a few weeks in Hamilton. He wasn't impressive at all and could go back in the AHL another time if his next start is not a solid one, if he ever gets another this season...
The team surely understands that Price will not give enough to the team this season. I expect that Jaroslav Halak will be the second netminder behind Christobal Huet when the first round of the playoffs will open for Montreal.
Combined with a victory for the Ottawa Senators tonight, the Habs now stands three points behind Ottawa and both teams will face off on saturday evening. Dany Heatley was back in the lineup tonight for the Senators and registered two goals and an assist.
Saturday's game is a big one for both Ottawa and Montreal and I expect a great performance from Ottawa. If the Canadiens wants to stay within the leading pack of the Eastern conference, they have to play their best game of the season to steal two points in Ottawa saturday.
(Picture: Mats Sundin and Saku Koivu, Getty Images.)