No one had this script written when the Maple Leafs went up 3-1 in their best-of-seven first-round series. I mean, it’s 2021. It’s not the 2013 or 2018 or 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. There would be no Game 7 in Toronto-ville this year, right? Wrong.
Here we go again.
The Canadiens, in front of the first fans back inside a Canadian pro rink, snagged a 3-2 overtime win in Game 6 on Saturday to force a decisive Game 7.
Montreal came to play in this one, but it wasn’t until the third period that it was able to get one past netminder Jack Campbell. In fact, the Habs scored two in the fame, both on the power play, which itself was a shocker considering they entered the game 0 for 13 with the man advantage. Corey Perry scored at 5:26, and then with Montreal on a two-man advantage thanks to Mitchell Marner sending one over the glass, Tyler Toffoli made it a two-goal game at 6:43.
But, as noted, this one went to overtime. Veteran forward Jason Spezza scored for Toronto before veteran defenseman TJ Brodie netted the equalizer at 16:49.
In overtime, it was all Leafs statistically as they outshot Montreal 13-2, but obviously, all that matters is the puck that eventually tickles the twine and it was the Canadiens’ Jesperi Kotkaniemi who did that. Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott, who was inserted into the lineup after Rasmus Sandin had a number of critical turnovers in Game 5, well, turned it over to Paul Byron, who fed the Finn for the goal.
“Look at the past two games. We come back, come back. We’re going to break through at some point, and we know we got to play better, and we will play better,” said Leafs forward Nick Foligno, who returned to the lineup after missing three games. Toronto did lose defenseman Jake Muzzin to a lower-body injury in Game 6.
“Let’s give ourselves a chance to win the right way,” Foligno added. “These guys care, man. You see it in that room. You feel it. . . . It’s time for the words to stop, the cliches to stop, it’s Game 7. It’s time to put it all on the line, and I have no doubt going to battle with these guys that we will do that.”
The win capped a special Saturday night at Bell Centre for Montreal’s faithful (and a few Toronto fans too) as the Canadiens became the first club north of the border to host spectators — 2,500 of them — this year. Tickets were priced at ridiculous levels, and while the arena normally holds 21,273 when packed, it was still loud.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling especially with all the fans here,” Kotkaniemi told Sportsnet with a huge smile “When the boys came to warmups it was incredible feeling to see people at the rink. We’ve been waiting this whole year and finally was here.”
Now the series shifts back to Toronto, where there will be no fans for the best thing in hockey: Game 7.
Will the Canadiens continue their run? Can the Maple Leafs put the ghosts of playoffs past, which are now breathing down their necks, behind them? Monday night should be a doozy.
Sporting News had all the action as the Canadiens forced a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs (all times Eastern):
Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens live score, highlights from 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs Game 6
Overtime: Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2
10:53 p.m. — GOAL. Travis Dermott loses the puck to Paul Bryon, who feeds Jesperi Kotkaniemi. The Finn scores from the high slot; bring on Game 7. Canadiens win 3-2.
10:46 p.m. — Giveaway but Price stones Mikheyev.
10:43 p.m. — Perry is OK.
10:41 p.m. — Matthews throws the puck on net and Cary Price gets the pad and the puck trickles to the line but Price is flush with his skate on the post to keep it out.
10:38 p.m. — TJ Brodie with a shot that is blocked by Perry with his right hand. Perry is hurting.
10:35 p.m. — More than five minutes into overtime and the Canadiens do not have a shot on goal. Maple Leafs have four.
10:31 p.m. — Kerfoot with a good look from the left wing but Price makes the stop.
10:29 p.m. — Game 7 or the first Leafs’ series win in 17 years? Overtime has begun.
Third period: Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 2
10:13 p.m. — And, just like that, we’re headed to overtime.
10:08 p.m. — GOAL. Hold on to your hat. This game is all tied up. TJ Brodie with the shot from the point goes off the toe of Jeff Petry and that ever-so-slight deflection gets the puck behind Price. Game tied 2-2.
10:03 p.m. — Five minutes to go.
9:58 p.m. — GOAL. The veteran Jason Spezza gets the puck in the slot, takes it off the skate, turns and puts it up over the glove of Price. Canadiens lead 2-1.
9:55 p.m. — Carey Price. My. Goodness.
9:48 p.m. — Back to 5v5 and Mitchell Marner draws a power play for the Maple Leafs. Can they get one back?
9:46 p.m. — Canadiens still have a minute of power-play time.
9:46 p.m. — PP GOAL. Tyler Toffoli shuffles the pass from the bottom of the right circle past Campbell. Canadiens lead 2-0.
9:44 p.m. — Mitch Marner sends the puck over the glass. Canadiens get a two-man advantage for 1:41.
9:42 p.m. — It’s a good goal. Canadiens lead 1-0 and now go on the power play.
9:41 p.m. — Maple Leafs challenge.
9:41 p.m. — Leafs thinking about challenging? Campbell did have Tyler Toffoli standing in his way as he tried to get back in front.
9:40 p.m. — PP GOAL. Off a scramble after a semi-mishit Caufield one-timer, it’s Corey Perry that is able to put it in the net as Campbell is not in the net. Canadiens lead 1-0.
9:39 p.m. — Nylander backs into Price and Canadiens get a power play. They are 0-for-14 entering this man advantage.
9:38 p.m. — Maple Leafs would not score and we play on.
9:37 p.m. — Matthews with two chances on the man advantage — one a one-timer from the right circle and the other off a tap pass atop the crease from Joe Thornton that Price got a piece of.
9:33 p.m. — Maple Leafs get a power play as Danault holds the stick of Auston Matthews. Toronto is 0-for-2 so far.
9:29 p.m. — Huge loss on Toronto’s blue line as Jake Muzzin is out for the rest of the game with a lower-body injury.
9:29 p.m. — Feels a little sudden death even though it’s the third period as the puck is dropped.
Second period: Maple Leafs 0, Canadiens 0
9:10 p.m. — The middle frame comes to an end and the Leafs have 14 shots on goal in the game to Montreal’s 21.
After 40 minutes:
MTL with an 8-6 edge in slot shots on net.
TOR with an 4:48-2:36 advantage in OZ possession time.
MTL with a 7-1 edge in scoring chances off-the-rush.
— David Alter (@dalter) May 30, 2021
9:03 p.m. — Replay shows Jake Muzzin appearing to be injured as he goes to the bench.
8:59 p.m. — Lots of action and no whistles.
8:57 p.m. — Canadiens transition and get another odd-man rush but Danault from the slot is denied by Campbell.
8:56 p.m. — Off a 2-on-1 and Eric Staal misses the open net.
8:49 p.m. — Some pushing and shoving after the whistle with Brendan Gallagher in the middle.
8:45 p.m. — Power play ends and the Canadiens get a 3-on-1 where Campell stops Tyler Toffoli.
8:42 p.m. — Shea Weber tries to clear the puck but sends it over the glass instead. Maple Leafs back to the power play. They are 0-for-1 thus far.
8:39 p.m. — Cole Caufield down the right wing and he rings one off the pipe.
8:38 p.m. — The second period begins. Who will score first?
First period: Maple Leafs 0, Canadiens 0
8:19 p.m. — First period comes to an end.
8:18 p.m. — Wow. Royal Road pass and Carey Price with the highway robbery on the Nick Foligno one-timer.
8:12 p.m. — Defenseman Travis Dermott with probably the best scoring chance for the Leafs as he cuts to the middle and gets a good shot off.
8:07 p.m. — Seven minutes left in the opening period and the Canadiens are outshooting the Maple Leafs 13-5.
8:01 p.m. — Penalty ends and Nick Suzuki gets a head-man pass, splits the D but is stoned by Campbell.
7:59 p.m. — Fans chanting “Go Habs Go!”
7:58 p.m. — Alexander Kerfoot called for high-sticking so Montreal to the power play but . . . well . . . Canadiens are 0-for-14, so is it really an advantage?
7:52 p.m. — Attn: Canadiens came to play.
7:51 p.m. — Back to even strength.
7:50 p.m. — And then it’s Jake Evans with a cut and a move to create space while shorthanded and Campbell has to make the difficult stop.
7:49 p.m. — Leafs on the power play but it the Canadiens with the better chances as Shea Weber rips one off the blocker.
7:49 p.m. — Maple Leafs get a power play as Josh Anderson trips William Nylander.
7:48 p.m. — Canadiens swarming early in this one as Campbell has to be on top of his game.
7:46 pm. — Phillip Danault gets the first good chance for either team and is denied by Jack Campbell.
7:46 p.m. — Puck dropped. Game 6 is on.
7:45 p.m. — Absolute chills as the fans sing the national anthem at Bell Centre.
Original source here
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