Heading into the third period the Canadiens trailed 2-1 and were being out shot 20-12. Toronto opened the scoring midway through the first when Mike Peca sent a gorgeous pass to Ian White who made no mistake and buried his 3rd career NHL goal. Just two minutes and thirteen seconds later Leafs Captain blew by Canadiens defenseman Craig Rivet, made a beautiful move from backhand to forehand and lifted the Leafs to a two goal lead. Alexander Perezhogin drew the Canadiens to within a goal late in the first half of the 2nd period. Guillaume Latendresse and Mathieu Dandenault picked up assists on the goal.
But the Leafs begun the third period with a power play thanks to Alex Kovalev who was whistled for hooking and proceeded to take an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the 2nd period. The first two minutes were killed successfully by the Habs but during the second 2 minute advantage Kyle Wellwood gathered a rebound off the end boards and beat the out of position Huet to re-extend the lead to two.
With nine minutes remaining in the third period it appeared to be just a formality that the Leafs would win their third straight against the Canadiens. Saku Koivu disagreed as he single-handedly beat Mike Peca on the face-off and schooled Leafs goaltender Andrew Raycroft to once again make it a one goal game.
A little over four minutes later Alexander Perezhogin put pressure on White deep in the Leafs zone, White panicked and unfortunately for the Leafs lifted the puck directly over the glass providing the Canadiens with their fourth power play of the game. Thirty-eight seconds later Alex Kovalev sent a pin-point half shot half pass of Saku Koivu’s stick and in to tie the game at threes.
In the final minutes of regulation Sundin set up two chances for his line mates Alex Ponikrovsky and Nik Antropov but Cristobal Huet was able to make his 35th and 36th saves of the night to help the Canadiens earn a point for advancing to overtime.
Overtime was played very cautiously as their were more shots blocked by defending players than allowed to get through to their respective goaltenders. Brian McCabe took a very intelligent holding penalty as time ran out in the overtime period preventing Saku Koivu from getting a good crack at his second career NHL hat trick.
So for the third time in four games this year the Canadiens and Leafs headed to a shootout. As the shooters were announced in the Bell Centre two names came to a surprise to the 21,273 in attendance as both Paul Maurice and Guy Carbonneau selected their most offensive defenseman as one of their top three shooters. The Canadiens elected to shoot first, Alex Kovalev made a beautiful move but Andrew Raycroft made an excellent stretch pad save. Tomas Kaberle was the Leafs first shooter and was stopped by Huet. Team Captains Saku Koivu and Mats Sundin would exchange goals leaving Sheldon Souray and Kyle Wellwood as the last two shooters. Sheldon Souray faked a slap shot at the hash marks drawing Raycroft out of position and lifted a wrist shot into the top shelf. Wellwood would also make a great move but was thwarted by the crossbar.
1. Saku Koivu- scored two goals in the final nine minutes to tie the game and provided the Canadiens with a shootout goal to boot.
2. Cristobal Huet- without him the Habs would have been in a much deeper hole after the first period. His 36 saves were a thing a beauty.
3. Sheldon Souray- scored the beautiful shootout winning goal.
1. In the past four years Saku Koivu has only scored two goals in a game just four times, twice has it been against the Leafs with the other two coming against the Panthers and Sabres.
2. Although the Canadiens have the leagues best penalty kill the Toronto Maple Leafs seem to have the answer as they have scored at least one power play goal against the Habs in all four meeting this season, I guess the 25 chances they have had in those four games don’t hurt either.
3. Thomas Kaberle and Bryan McCabe both extended their point streaks against the Canadiens to three games scoring a combined six goals and twelve points in those three meetings.
4. Andrew Raycroft was once again unable to beat the Canadiens losing his fourth straight to the Habs.