Montreal – Cole Cofield scored at 4:43 of overtime as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3–2 in a possible North Division playoff preview on Monday.
The rogue sniper took a pass from Jeff Petrie and scored his second NHL goal at home – and the second OT winner.
Tyler Tofoli and Philippe Danault scored in regulation for Montreal (24-18-9). Jake Allen made 27 stops for the Canadians, winning two, including a dramatic 2–1 overtime win at the Bell Center against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, when Cofield was also the hero. Petrie and Nick Suzuki each added three assists.
Auston Matthews scored with his league-season’s 39th goal, and Morgan Riley responded for Toronto (33-13-6), with 20 saves from Jack Campbell.
The first-placed Leafs fell 5–3–0 against the Canadians, who are chasing the Winnipeg Jets for third in the division.
Toronto landed Nicolonigo as an experienced player just before Matthews scored late in the second round.
The Leafs and Canadiens will play twice more this week – Thursday and Saturday in Toronto – although Montreal also has a date with the Senators in Ottawa on Wednesday.
The Canadiens were once again wounded in Minus. No. 1 goalie Carey Price, captain Shea Weber, as well as Tomas Tatar, Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher, while winger Jonathan Droin is out for personal reasons.
Leafs defenseman Justin Hall did not wear the dress after taking a poke in the face on Saturday, which opened the door for Timothy Lilgren to join Jake Muzin in the second blue-line pairing. Zac Hyman and Zac Bogosian are also sidelined with injuries.
Down 2–1 at the end of the third period, Danaut jammed his fifth home with 51.8 seconds left in regulation to beat Matthews in an offensive zone bout.
Matthews and Mitch Maraner could not connect on 2-on-0, before Tofoli missed the net in extra time and looked for his second goal of the night. John Tavares then hit the post for Toronto.
Matthews scored with 2:39 left to make it 1-1, with the second remaining point shot of Muzin being overtaken by Allen as he batted in front of the Canadiens’ defenseman Joel Edmondson.
The goal was Matthews to participate in the sixth competition, 18th in his final 18 matches, and 18th in his 22nd career vs. the Canadian.
Tofoli got Montreal on the board earlier in the period on a power play when he took a pass from Suzuki and beat Campbell at 1:55 on the third penalty of the night.
Viewers did not get their first man advantage, but Campbell had to make a big shutout in a 2-on-1 with Jatt Evans following a Rasamus Sandin turnover.
Ellen later intercepted a breakup to William Naylander, but Matthews would not be denied his deflection.
Montreal tried to push away in the third, with Campbell punishing Ben Chiarot late before Josh Anderson was stopped at the edge of his net before Danault was forced to OT.
Reilly opened the scoring for his fifth goal of the season at 4:07 of the first shot at one point through the screen, and in the first 13 games. The sequence was founded by Alex Gelchenyuk, who recorded his first match against Montreal, scoring a total of 3 in 2012 in the 10th game.
Montreal later came close to getting on the board, when Cofield took a shot from Campbell’s crossbar on the power play. Toronto made it about 2–0 seconds later when Marner caught Alexander Romanov, but Allen had a chance at Brexit.
Campbell then robbed Jesse Kotterkennie with his glove at another man advantage before denying Eric Staal.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 3, 2021.
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