On the day the Canadiens announced they would be without Cole Caufield for the remainder of the season, they bested the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in overtime at the Bell Centre.
Rem Pitlick scored the 3-on-3 winner on Saturday night. Josh Anderson and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard scored the other two as the Maple Leafs squandered a 2-0 first period lead.
Samuel Montembeault made his seventh consecutive start in goal and he was stellar, stopping 36 of 38 shots.
Perhaps some good luck came from Élise Béliveau. It was her birthday and she happened to be in attendance.
The Leafs jumped to an early 1-0 lead only 53 seconds in. Mark Giordano was the trailer and goal scorer on the sequence.
With 2:30 left to go in the first, Conor Timmins sent a pass across to Calle Jarnkrok, who had the easy tap-in to make it 2-0 after one period. The Leafs lead in shots 15-4 and it seemed like the injury-depleted Habs were a deflated bunch.
O ye of little faith. It turns out the Habs had the Leafs right where they wanted them. Josh Anderson, who has more career goals against the Leafs than any other team, put the Habs on the board to start the second. He and Kirby Dach were driving the net all night like a couple of big bodies should.
The cobbled together line featuring two Laval call-ups then tied it up. Harvey-Pinard had the nose for the net, while Michael Pezzetta’s lunge to keep the play alive made it all possible. Alex Belzile, called up earlier in the day, got a helper as well.
The Leafs outshot the Habs 14-6 in the third period, but they couldn’t solve Montembeault. Montreal had a power play in the final minutes of regulation, but Dach hitting the post was as close as they got. It was off to overtime.
Coach Martin St. Louis opted for Christian Dvorak, Mike Matheson and Anderson to start three-on-three. But it was Pitlick, who assisted on the Anderson goal, who came up large with the top shelf winner on Ilya Samsonov. Mike Hoffman and David Savard assisted.
With Caufield out, the Habs might not win much the rest of the way, but Saturday night’s come-from-behind victory over the Maple Leafs felt pretty good to the Liveblog commenters after the terrible news from earlier in the day.
The new top line of Nick Suzuki, Anderson and Pitlick connected on the first goal, and giving the captain a little speed on his wings might produce results as the team learns to live without its most gifted goal scorer.
3. “Habs Ahl team get a point.” -Hunter Muskoka
2. “Hogtown thinks they are going somewhere come playoff time. If they can ‘t beat an injury plagued, rebuilding team; it will be 1 and done again :-).” -Mike Sampson
1. “Beating the leafs and their fans who think they’re the only team in Canada. This team is overhyped, and overpaid.” -Ryan Katz