Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1

Associated Press | Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

TORONTO (AP) - The Toronto Maple Leafs are entering the playoffs hardly playing their best.

"I was mystified tonight," Toronto coach Randy Caryle said after Saturday night's sluggish 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The Maple Leafs showed a bit of jump to start - the Canadiens went without a shot for the first 11 minutes of the game, - and led 1-0 on a first-period Phil Kessel power-play goal.

But they faded fast and Montreal finished the period tied 1-1 and outshooting Toronto 9-6.

"For whatever reason, it was like we went brain-dead," Carlyle said. "Our execution level went way down."

How bad were the Leafs before a season-high crowd of 19,730? They managed one shot in the second period despite having three power plays.

One of those man advantages had captain Dion Phaneuf mishandle the puck at the blue line, a Leafs player fire the puck into the netting above the glass and an icing call.

Toronto and Montreal could meet in the playoffs.

But that wasn't decided Saturday because Boston added to its point total by going to overtime in a loss to Washington, meaning that the Eastern Conference playoff matchup picture won't be complete until Sunday when Boston plays Ottawa in a makeup game.

If Boston wins Sunday, the Leafs play Montreal. A Bruins loss and it's Boston versus Toronto.

Forward Jay McClement said the Leafs had to look after their own team, rather than wonder about their playoff opponent.

"We need to figure out our own game, no matter who we're playing. Because if we play like that tonight, it won't be good enough."

The way Toronto is playing, Boston fans may not regret losing Sunday.

"The idea of (Montreal versus Toronto) is pretty cool," Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher said. "Obviously I'm assuming it would be the most emotional first-round series ever, so that aspect of it is cool. But for us, we don't really care who we're playing. It's about us. It matters what we do and that's all we're talking about. We'll watch the game (Sunday) and find out who we play."

The Leafs (26-17-5) end the season having lost four of their last six, during which they've been outscored 20-15.

Kessel scored his 20th goal of the season for Toronto, getting his 10th goal in as many games.

Lars Eller had a goal and two assists to pace the Canadiens. Gallagher, Andrei Markov, and Thomas Plekanec also scored for Montreal, which won despite going 0-for-6 on the power play.

The Canadiens (29-14-5) did it without No. 1 goalie Carey Price, who was given the night off in favor of Peter Budaj.

"We wanted to impose the rhythm," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "The players did a fantastic job executing the game plan. These are games with a lot of emotion and the type of game you want to play. They executed it fantastically tonight."

Montreal outshot Toronto 28-17.

And by the final whistle, the Leafs had lost their discipline with a string of penalties.

Tough guy Kyle McLaren got an early shower at 3:05 of the third period when he got minors for roughing and charging, a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct after misbehaving during a melee. There were no other penalties on the play.

Toronto's Clarke MacArthur also exited early with minors for slashing and unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10-minute misconduct.

The final penalty count was 44 minutes for Toronto to 16 for Montreal.

Carlyle replaced James Reimer with Ben Scrivens after Montreal made it 4-1 on the Canadiens' 23rd shot, a soft goal that Plekanec sent over Reimer's shoulder at 2:25 of the third period.

"It wasn't my best game," Reimer said. "A couple of unlucky bounces and stuff like that. You take some of the positives and then you flush it."

Carlyle agreed on both counts.

"I don't think he was as sharp as he's been, that's for sure," the coach said of Reimer. "He's been outstanding for our hockey club so it's hard to cast anything in that direction. I don't think we supported him ... tonight."

Asked how much time he would spend on the game, Carlyle wasted no time answering.

"None. It's over."

Said defenseman Mark Fraser: "The mindset now is to move on. Thankfully we're in a position where we can."

McClement had a different view.

"I don't think it's time to quite flush this game quite yet," he said. "I think we can still learn from it and have this in the back of our minds, that's it's only going to get tougher and we have to have our A game every night and regroup from there."

Toronto came into the game having won three of the four previous meetings between the two this season, outscoring the Canadiens 15-7. The Canadiens' lone win prior to Saturday was a 5-2 decision Feb. 27 in Toronto.

Montreal had gone 2-5-0 since clinching its playoff spot April 11 with a win in Buffalo.

The Leafs chased Price in their last meeting, beating him three times on just four shots in a 5-1 win April 13 at Air Canada Centre.

Toronto's first-line center Tyler Bozak sat out for the second game in a row with an upper-body injury. Nazem Kadri took his place alongside Kessel and James Van Riemsdyk or Joffrey Lupul.

The Leaf power play went 1-for-7.

NOTE: Two sweater-clad Leafs fans did the traditional dance in their seats wearing Wendel Clark and Darryl Sittler masks during a break in the first period. But this night, when they took the masks off, it turned out to be the real Clark and Sittler.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
15:36TOR PPG - Phil Kessel (20) ASST: Dion Phaneuf (19), Cody Franson (25) 1 - 0 TOR
18:01MTL Lars Eller (8) ASST: Brendan Gallagher (13), Alex Galchenyuk (18) 1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
04:19MTL Andrei Markov (10) ASST: Lars Eller (21) 2 - 1 MTL
09:18MTL Brendan Gallagher (15) ASST: Lars Eller (22), Andrei Markov (20) 3 - 1 MTL
3rd Period
02:25MTL Tomas Plekanec (14) ASST: Brandon Prust (9), Josh Gorges (7) 4 - 1 MTL
Three Stars of the Game
Lars Eller
Lars Eller
G: 1Shots: 1
A: 2Hits: 6
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 16:08
Brendan Gallagher
Brendan Gallagher
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 1Hits: 2
PTS: 2PIM: 2
+/-: 3TOI: 11:03
Andrei Markov
Andrei Markov
G: 1Shots: 1
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 4
+/-: 2TOI: 19:01
Penalty Summary
1st Period
07:53MTL P.K. Subban  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
12:08TOR Michael Kostka  Interference against  Brendan Gallagher
14:57MTL Andrei Markov  Roughing against  Leo Komarov
2nd Period
06:19MTL Raphael Diaz  Tripping against  Nazem Kadri
12:21MTL Michael Ryder  Holding against  John-Michael Liles
18:08MTL Rene Bourque  Slashing against  Joffrey Lupul
19:30TOR Clarke MacArthur  Too many men/ice - bench
3rd Period
03:05TOR Frazer McLaren  Misconduct (10 min)
03:05TOR Frazer McLaren  Charging against  Ryan White
03:05TOR Frazer McLaren  Roughing against  Jarred Tinordi
03:05TOR Frazer McLaren  Game misconduct
03:39MTL Andrei Markov  Hooking against  Leo Komarov
09:02MTL Brendan Gallagher  Interference against  Nazem Kadri
13:32TOR Clarke MacArthur  Slashing against  Raphael Diaz
13:32TOR Clarke MacArthur  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Raphael Diaz
13:32TOR Clarke MacArthur  Misconduct (10 min)
17:15MTL P.K. Subban  Hi-sticking against  Nazem Kadri
20:00TOR Dion Phaneuf  Cross checking
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/61/7
Faceoff Wins3430
Blocked Shots1517
Penalty Minutes1644
8B. PrustL0110014:12
11B. GallagherR1134211:03
14T. PlekanecC1012019:54
17R. BourqueR0003214:20
21B. GiontaR0011015:46
26J. GorgesD0110020:55
27A. GalchenyukC012209:22
32T. MoenL0000012:03
42J. TinordiD0020014:49
51D. DesharnaisC0000014:49
53R. WhiteC000209:23
55F. BouillonD0011019:25
61R. DiazD0002221:23
67M. PaciorettyL0014015:41
73M. RyderR0001212:10
76P. SubbanD0024424:57
79A. MarkovD1121419:01
81L. EllerC1231016:08
30P. Budaj1617.94160:00
3D. PhaneufD0102224:56
4C. FransonD01-20022:02
11J. McClementC0001015:37
16C. MacArthurL00-201410:39
19J. LupulL00-11017:22
21J. van RiemsdykL00-11019:30
24J. LilesD00-22018:11
28C. OrrR000006:31
32J. ColborneC0002011:05
36C. GunnarssonD00-10016:26
38F. McLarenL0000245:17
41N. KuleminL0001015:34
43N. KadriC00-24020:36
45M. FraserD00-10017:12
47L. KomarovC00-20013:27
53M. KostkaD00-20221:19
81P. KesselR10-23019:53
84M. GrabovskiC00-20012:39
30B. Scrivens551.00017:21
34J. Reimer1923.82642:23