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Montréal
Canadiens
41-30-11
Toronto
Maple Leafs
34-35-13

29 SOG
36 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
MTL
TOR
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game recap

Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Associated Press

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Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 2
Montréal Canadiens 6, Toronto Maple Leafs 2

TORONTO (AP) - Jaroslav Halak made 34 saves, and Alex Kovalev had a goal and three assists in the Montreal Canadiens' 6-2 victory over Toronto on Saturday night.

After dropping a 5-2 decision to Toronto two weeks ago in Montreal, the Canadiens have gone 5-0-1 to move five points clear of ninth-place Florida in the race for one of the eight Eastern Conference playoff spots.

"We're trying to grab as many points as we can and move up the standings," forward Christopher Higgins. "The confidence in the room is back - that's pretty obvious to tell. I think we've got four games left here and if we continue to play the way we've been playing the last couple games, then we'll have the right mind-set for the playoffs."

Kovalev has 15 points in the past six games.

"I'm probably playing as good as I have been all year," Kovalev said. "Like I've said many times, sometimes you try to do too much on your own instead of using your partners. Right now I kind of know more about the players that I'm playing with."

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Discuss the game
The only potential reason for concern at the moment might be some mounting injury troubles. Defenseman Mathieu Schneider left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period, and leading scorer Andrei Markov was knocked out by Mikhail Grabovski's hit with 7 minutes to play.

"I don't really have any idea how it will unfold," coach Bob Gainey said. "But I'm hoping that they'll be available to us to play on Monday (against Ottawa)."

Higgins, Guillaume Latendresse, Alex Tanguay, Maxim Lapierre and Josh Gorges also scored for Montreal. John Mitchell and Boyd Devereaux scored for Toronto.

Halak wasn't tested often in earning his 18th victory of the season, although he made a nice save on Mikhail Grabovski in the second period. The Slovak goalie was backed up by AHL callup Marc Denis with Carey Price sidelined by the flu.

Kovalev opened the scoring at 6:11 of the first period with a beautiful wrist shot that found a narrow gap above Martin Gerber's shoulder. Latendresse then converted from in-close just over 2 minutes later and the Habs were off and running.

The large group of Montreal fans in attendance at Air Canada Centre responded in kind, sending up chants of "Let's go Habs! Let's go Habs!"

They were given even more reason to cheer late in the period as Georges Laraques ran over defenseman Jay Harrison before getting in a good punch or two when the pair squared off.

Latendresse had a chance to extend Montreal's lead when he was awarded a penalty shot early in the second period, but Gerber got his body in front of the shot. It was the second straight game a Habs player failed to convert a penalty shot - Tom Kostopoulos was turned away on Long Island on Thursday night.

It mattered little as Tanguay converted a great pass from captain Saku Koivu at 7:29 to make it 3-0. Kovalev also earned an assist on the goal as all three members of the red-hot line continued to pile up points.

Gerber was furious after Higgins made it 4-0 at 8:59. The goalie had been sparring with Tomas Plekanec moments before getting beaten with a wrist shot.

Toronto ended Halak's shutout bid 2:11 into the third period when Mitchell tipped home a shot, but any comeback hopes didn't last long. Lapierre and Gorges scored power-play goals less than 3 minutes apart to ice the win.

Notes: Montreal coach Bob Gainey made Andrei Kostitsyn a healthy scratch for the second time this season ... Lee Stempniak sat out for Toronto ... Leafs forward Brad May played the 999th game of his NHL career.


See also
The Numbers Game - April 4, 2009
Alex the efficient
The playoff picture
scoring summary
1st Period
06:11
MTL
PPG - Alex Kovalev (24) ASST: Mathieu Schneider (23)
1 - 0 MTL
08:53
MTL
Guillaume Latendresse (14) ASST: Roman Hamrlik (24), Maxim Lapierre (13)
2 - 0 MTL
2nd Period
07:29
MTL
Alex Tanguay (16) ASST: Saku Koivu (32), Alex Kovalev (37)
3 - 0 MTL
08:59
MTL
Chris Higgins (12) ASST: Mathieu Dandenault (7), Josh Gorges (19)
4 - 0 MTL
3rd Period
02:11
TOR
John Mitchell (11) ASST: Jay Harrison (1), Jason Blake (36)
4 - 1 MTL
06:38
MTL
PPG - Maxim Lapierre (15) ASST: Guillaume Latendresse (11), Alex Kovalev (38)
5 - 1 MTL
09:10
MTL
PPG - Josh Gorges (4) ASST: Roman Hamrlik (25), Alex Kovalev (39)
6 - 1 MTL
13:20
TOR
SHG - Boyd Devereaux (3) ASST: NONE
6 - 2 MTL
penalty summary
1st Period
04:21
TOR
Matt Stajan  Tripping against  Maxim Lapierre
06:42
MTL
Mathieu Dandenault  Hooking against  Ian White
18:07
TOR
Jay Harrison  Roughing against  Georges Laraque
18:07
MTL
Georges Laraque  Roughing against  Jay Harrison
18:07
TOR
Pavel Kubina  Roughing against  Georges Laraque
2nd Period
15:28
MTL
Tomas Plekanec  Slashing against  Alexei Ponikarovsky
19:57
MTL
Mike Komisarek  Hooking against  Matt Stajan
3rd Period
04:59
TOR
Jason Blake  Tripping against  Glen Metropolit
07:11
TOR
Mikhail Grabovski  Slashing against  Tomas Plekanec
09:44
MTL
Gregory Stewart  Tripping against  John Mitchell
12:57
TOR
Mikhail Grabovski  Roughing against  Mathieu Dandenault
12:57
MTL
Mathieu Dandenault  Roughing against  Mikhail Grabovski
12:57
TOR
Mikhail Grabovski  Boarding against  Andrei Markov
12:57
TOR
Mikhail Grabovski  Misconduct
16:03
MTL
Georges Laraque  Tripping against  Niklas Hagman
goalie stats
Jaroslav Halak
SA: 36TOI: 60:00
Saves: 34EV: 23 - 24
PIM: 0PP: 11 - 11
SV%: .944SH: 0 - 1
Martin Gerber
Martin Gerber
8-14-1
SA: 29TOI: 60:00
Saves: 23EV: 18 - 21
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 8
SV%: .793SH: 0 - 0