The Toronto Maple Leafs fell short once again on, Saturday, February 27, to the Montreal Canadians at the Bell Center. The Canadians defeated the Leafs four to one at home in the original six “Hockey Night in Canada” match up.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently in second to last place in the NHL with 52 points after 60 games. The Leafs are in a deep rebuild mode, according to the NHL Network.
The Montreal Canadians have recently dropped out of a playoff spot. They are currently five points out of the wild card.
The Montreal Canadiens were seeking a big win in order to regain their reputation of being a playoff team. This would be the tenth consecutive time the Canadiens defeated the Maple Leafs.
The Canadiens didn’t get off to the start they wanted to. They conceded the first goal only 6:28 into the first period. Maple Leaf forward Brendan Leipsic shot a low puck creating an easy rebound for Leaf defensemen Matt Hunwick to put away.
It only took Canadian Alex Galchenyuch three minutes to even the score at one to one with a near side shot from the lower slot. The game was tied with 13 minutes remaining in the first period.
At the first intermission, Gramps, the “Saturday Hockey Night in Canada” intermission host, expressed his thoughts on the performances of both teams.
Throughout the second period, Montreal continued to assert their dominance. Right wing Smith-Pelly scored the only goal in the second period from a rebound.
The Leafs struggled through the second period. They recorded three penalties and 14 shots. Montreal played strong, recording 19 shots in the second period.
The Canadians kept the intensity up throughout the third period. Montreal captain Max Pacioretty scored two goals in the third period. Pacioretty’s couple of goals gave Montreal the clear cut win over the Leafs.
The head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mike Babcock, didn’t have much to say on the matter while he was interviewed by TSN. He explained, “I thought we were set up pretty good there going into the third, then Pacioretty made a couple real nice plays. I was happy with our performance until Pacioretty’s goals because we simply didn’t bounce back.”
Struggling Maple Leaf goalie Jonathan Bernier allowed four goals on 36 shots and had a .889 save percentage on the night. Bernier has won seven out of his last 26 starts this season so far according to ESPN.
Montreal goalie Matt Condone had 31 saves on 32 shots finishing with a strong .969 save percentage. Condone won the first star of the night, with Max Pacioretty earning the second star and Lars Eller winning the third.
Moving forward, the Montreal Canadians hope this game can start a fire under their feet in order to re-secure a playoff spot for the April action.
The Leafs have changed their focus to the future. This year, the team is looking to add new prospects and team chemistry in order to be more equipped for next season.