If you watched the Montreal Canadiens take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, what you witnessed was honestly pretty hilarious. The game was a mess in many ways, ultimately ending with a 6-5 Montreal win after the shootout.
Along the way, both teams coughed up major chances and both teams kind of humiliated themselves.
Toronto had a 3-1 lead going into the third period and turned that into a 4-1 lead just over five minutes into the frame thanks to a William Nylander goal on the power play.
But then, the Habs took over. The Canadiens scored four unrequited goals in the span of about 10 minutes, starting with Jonathan Drouin’s first and ending with a goal by Phillip Danault. All of a sudden, the Maple Leafs were losing the game they’d been leading for so long. All of a sudden, Carey Price was taking over. Again.
The Maple Leafs did rip the tying goal, an Auston Matthews number with under two minutes to go in regulation, but the writing was on the wall.
Overtime solved nothing and along came the shootout, which is where Price really earned the W.
Toronto fielded Matthews, Mitch Marner and John Tavares – as you do – and the Habs’ netminder turned them all aside. Pad save. Blocker save. Blocker save.
Only Montreal’s Paul Bryon scored on the shootout and that was that, a win for the Canadiens and a misfire for Toronto.
The Habs should’ve been better. That’s an understatement. There were rested, but couldn’t connect on even the most basic of passes and seemed content to give Toronto all the chances in the world. Despite outshooting their opponents, there’s no question that Montreal coughed up more chances against.
“We definitely weren’t happy with the first two periods,” said Canadiens coach Claude Julien. “We were a fresh team and yet we were sloppy. We weren’t making good decisions, and after two periods we were an extremely frustrated team.”
You could argue things changed when the Maple Leafs’ Kasperi Kapanen, for reasons perhaps known only to him, threw part of his broken stick at Jeff Petry. That resulted in a penalty shot for the defenceman, who popped the biscuit past Michael Hutchinson.
When the dust settled and the Habs waltzed away with what was a rather peculiar win on Hockey Night in Canada, two things were clear.
First, hockey is a strange, strange business.
And second, Carey Price was the only reason Montreal got out of there with a win.
Photo credit: Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports