TORONTO — The Canadiens’ drive for a playoff spot hit a speed bump Saturday as the Toronto Maple Leafs rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Canadiens 6-3 at Scotiabank Arena.The final score is a bit misleading because the last two Toronto goals were empty-netters, but the reality is Montreal missed out on badly needed points. A win would have left them one point behind the third-place Leafs in the Atlantic Division, but they are now five points back. Of more concern, Montreal still holds the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, but Pittsburgh and Carolina are only one point behind.The Canadiens dominated the first period, outshooting the Leafs 20-10 and taking a 3-0 lead on goals by Andrew Shaw, Tomas Tatar and Jeff Petry. But the Leafs took the momentum away with two power-play goals in the second period.
Toronto Maple Leafs’ Zach Hyman celebrates his goal and the Leafs’ fourth goal as the Canadiens’ bench look on in the third period in Toronto on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.
Frank Gunn /
THE CANADIAN PRESS
“Once they scored that second goal I think we tightened up,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. “I thought we froze in the third period. We had a one-goal lead, but we weren’t playing on our toes like we were early in the game, so we have to learn to manage these situations better than we have, especially lately. Third periods have been an issue for us in the last week.”The second goal was scored by Tyler Ennis after Artturi Lehkonen was called for goaltender interference. Lehkonen was looking for the puck in front of the net and the call was made after Frederik Andersen went down.“The goalie got a rolling puck and I was trying to reach for it,” Lehkonen said. “My shin caught the back of his leg and they called interference.”Julien hedged when asked if the penalty had been warranted.“If you’re going to give it to him, you have to give it at the other end, too,” Julien said. “In my view, I thought Andersen fell a little bit after the fact, but the referee seemed to listen to the crowd. At the same time, we have to be responsible for our own stuff and we have to kill those penalties.”The Leafs tied the game on a fluke bounce in the third period. Carey Price went to play a dump-in by Patrick Marleau, but the puck bounced out to William Nylander, who scored before Price could get back in his crease.“It’s a 60-minute game and we didn’t play 60,” said Petry, who had a goal and an assist. “It was still a 3-3 hockey game and it was still on the table. It was a tough bounce. Everyone read that it was coming around the glass. It was a tough break and gave them momentum, but the game was still tied. At the start of the third, we were up a goal and the first two shifts we started turning the puck over. At some point, we have to prove we’re a mature team that can find ways to close these games because there are more of them down the stretch.”The Canadiens and the Leafs appeared headed toward their third overtime game this season, but a turnover by Phillip Danault led to Zack Hyman’s winning goal with 1:50 to play.“We’re in a tie game and the mistake was made by a veteran player you like think you can count on,” Julien said. “There’s less than two minutes left and there’s a blind back pass in your own zone and it gets turned over and it’s in the back of the net. We have to take ownership and take responsibility for what happened.”This was the first of four consecutive road games. The Canadiens are in New Jersey on Monday, Detroit on Tuesday and in New York to play the Rangers on Friday before returning to the Bell Centre on Saturday against Pittsburgh.firstname.lastname@example.org/zababes1Related