Even though this tilt will not go into history as a classic, fans were treated to a nonetheless entertaining contest in which both teams controlled the game for stretches. Admittedly, though, Toronto played a stronger game overall. Much like in Anaheim, the Habs managed to tie the game late and obtain a key point, but this time did not manage to win the game in the extra frame. Bottom line, the team did not play well enough to earn two points.
The first period was played at a fast pace, with very few whistles and stoppages. Both teams obtained some decent chances and while Gustavsson looked shaky on occasion, Toronto would eventually open the scoring. On a man advantage, Tyler Bozak shot in a rebound over Jaroslav Halak, who appeared distracted after being hit by Hal Gill’s stick. However, Brian Gionta managed to tie the game with under a minute left in the frame. After accepting a nice tap pass in the neutral from Benoit Pouliot, he streaked down the wing and put a backhand past the Leafs’ netminder.
In the middle frame, Montreal was unable to convert on two man advantages, allowing Toronto to gather confidence and slowly take control of the period. Eventually, the Leafs momentum would lead to a Phil Kessel tally, who scored on an odd-man rush. At the end of the period, the Canadiens were once again afforded a power play when Jamie Lundmark was called for a double-minor high stick. And while the penalty spilled over to the beginning of the third, the Canadiens’ streak of futility continued, bringing them to 0 for 5 on the powerplay. With the opportunity to seize momentum squandered once more, Toronto maintained pressure for the better part of the next 10 minutes. As they say though, the sixth time is the charm. With the extra player once again, Montreal finally tied the game up when Brian Gionta tipped in a Scott Gomez point shot. That goal would prove important, as it allowed the game to head into overtime. However, the extra frame solved nothing and the two rivals needed the shootout. In the end, John Mitchell would play the hero for the Leafs, as he scored off a nice deke and put the puck around Halak.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1. Brian Gionta: Gionta tried to score from almost every angle and produced two timely goals for his squad. While he was unable to score in the shootout, the bottom line is that he produced big goals at big times.
Statline: 2 goals, 6 shots, +1, 1 hit
2. Jaroslav Halak: Let’s be honest. The Canadiens did not deserve to get a point out of this contest, but Halak’s 31 saves went a long way into taking this game into the extra frame. He did a good job finding loose pucks, controlled his rebounds well and looked calm in his crease.
Statline: 31 saves on 33 shots, .939 save percentage
3. Scott Gomez: Admittedly, Gomez did not have his most impressive game, but he nonetheless produced 2 assists and continued his hot offensive play.
Statline: 2 assists, 1 shot, +1, 1 hit, 2 PIM