TORONTO – The Canadiens are heading house with a pulse — and their followers might be there ready.
Nick Suzuki scored 59 seconds into extra time as Montreal survived a blown 3-0 result in defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 on Thursday and drive Recreation 6 of this Authentic Six first-round playoff matchup.
Cole Caufield intercepted an errant Alex Galchenyuk in Montreal’s zone and moved in on a 2-on-0 with Suzuki, who made a cross to Caufield after crossing into Toronto’s zone earlier than getting the puck again from his rookie teammate to beat a helpless Jack Campbell blocker facet.
Joel Armia, with two, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi had the opposite objectives for Montreal, which nonetheless trails Toronto 3-2 within the sequence. Carey Value made 32 saves.
Jake Muzzin, with two, and Zach Hyman replied for the Leafs, whereas Campbell stopped 26 photographs.
Because of a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, the Quebec authorities will enable 2,500 followers into the Bell Centre for Saturday’s Recreation 6 — the primary Canadian NHL crowd in Canada because the begin of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
The Leafs missed a possibility to win a playoff sequence for the primary time since 2004, however nonetheless have two extra cracks at advancing.
The Winnipeg Jets await the winner of Toronto-Montreal following their shock sweep of Connor McDavid’s Edmonton Oilers within the North Division’s different first-round sequence.
The Leafs got here near opening the scoring early on Thursday when bruising ahead Wayne Simmonds rang a shot off the crossbar on Value from in tight, however it could be the guests placing first moments later.
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After veteran winger Corey Perry pressured an offensive zone turnover by plastering Leafs rookie defenceman Rasmus Sandin into the boards with a clear hit, Armia picked up the unfastened puck and wired his first purpose of the sequence — and simply Montreal’s fifth general — previous Campbell glove at 5:13.
With their backs towards the wall, the impressed Canadiens stored coming, and Armia buried his second at 8:18 on a scramble with Campbell swimming in his crease. Perry picked up an help on the sequence, which began with Armia flattening William Nylander’s clearing try, for the one hundredth playoff level of his profession.
The Leafs had good probabilities of their very own within the interval, however Value was there every time, together with a terrific denial of Nylander, who had scored in all 4 video games coming into Thursday, on a 2-on-1.
Montreal gained Recreation 1 of the sequence 2-1 on the again of Value’s 35-save efficiency on an evening the place Leafs captain John Tavares was stretchered off the ice within the first interval following a scary collision earlier than being outscored 11-2 in dropping the following three to fall behind Toronto 3-1.
The Canadiens made it 3-0 at 4:52 of the second when Kotkaniemi pressured the shaky Sandin behind the Leafs’ web on a very good forecheck. The puck popped in entrance, and the Montreal centre ultimately poked it beneath Campbell and in for his first purpose since Recreation 1.
The Toronto goaltender made a pleasant cease on Tyler Toffoli — Montreal’s 28-goal man nonetheless searching for his first within the post-season — halfway by way of the interval on a break to maintain his workforce inside two.
The highest seed within the division through the NHL’s pandemic-truncated marketing campaign, 18 factors away from their opponent within the standings, the Leafs confirmed some life 1:40 later when Mitch Marner threw a puck in entrance from behind the purpose line that Hyman slid house.
The grinding Toronto winger then received a breakaway 30 seconds into the third, however Value was there to close the door.
The Leafs received to inside one simply after their solely energy play ended when Muzzin blasted a degree shot by way of a display screen at 6:52.
Toronto received even with 8:06 left in regulation when Muzzin drove the online and tipped Galchenyuk’s shot by way of Value’s legs.
Tavares (knee, concussion), who was in attendance for Recreation 5, took the ice for about 20 minutes previous to Toronto’s morning skate as he continues his restoration. Leafs ahead Nick Foligno (lower-body harm) missed a 3rd consecutive sport, whereas Sandin returned to the lineup for Travis Dermott after being wholesome scratched Tuesday within the second of a back-to-back.
The Canadiens made one change to their lineup, with defenceman Erik Gustafsson coming in for Brett Kulak.
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