Last night the Canadiens and Leafs proved the stats just do not matter at least in the case of special teams and goaltending. Entering last nights game the Habs appeared to have the advantage in both categories but after the game the score sheet proved otherwise.
After a tentative start for the first eleven minutes, Guillaume Latendresse took a hooking penalty in the offensive zone sending the Maple Leafs to the games first power-play. The Canadiens started off the kill very well and even had a shot provided by Michael Ryder, Raycroft made a shoulder save and on came the Leafs second power play unit. After a flurry of passes Leafs defenseman Pavel Kubina sent a slap shot passed Tomas Plekanec and Cristobal Huet into the back of the net.
Sixty-eight seconds later the Leafs were back on the power play thanks Chris Higgins who was forced to grab onto Mats Sundin behind the Canadiens net. Leafs coach Paul Maurice decided to send back out the second unit to start the power play and it proved to be the correct decision. Just eleven seconds into the power play Jeff O’Neill whiffed on a slap shot sending a fluttering puck passed Huet. The goal was reviewed because it appeared as though Matt Stajan deflected the puck but the evidence was inclusive and the goal stood.
Tomas Plekanec cut the lead in half at 6:06 of the second period while the Canadiens were on the man advantage. His wrist shot bounced off Kubina’s upper body off the crossbar and into the net.
With the Canadiens in the midst of their 4th power play Sheldon Souray was a little too rough with John Pohl and was sent off for boarding at 15:21. Nether team could score 4 on 4. But Mats Sundin and the Leafs took advantage of their 4th power play and restored the two goal lead.
Pavel Kubina added another goal at 3:29 of the third period to ensure the Habs would mope on their flight back to Montreal.
With the loss the Canadiens now find themselves out of the Eastern Conference’s top 4. Unfortunately for the Leafs nothing got any easier for them as the Rangers, Capitals, Penguins, Islanders and Panthers all also won last night. The Leafs are just 2 points out of a playoff position but are just 4 points out of 14th in the Conference.
1. Pavel Kubina- had his first multiple point night for the Leafs scoring twice and adding an assist.
2. Jeff O’Neill- scored the game winner and picked up an assist.
3. Andrew Raycroft- juggled the puck at times but made the important saves when the game was close.