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There is no joy in Toronto as the ‘supposed’ mighty Maple Leafs have struck out.

Toronto was up 3-1 in the best-of-seven series and at home for Game 5 which they lost in overtime after coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the third period.

It was more of the same in Game 6 Saturday in Montreal as the Canadiens had a 2-0 lead in the third, only to have Toronto come back to tie it in regulation. The Maple Leafs dominated in overtime but it was Jesperi Kotkaniemi with the game winner on a perfect shot to win it and send the series back to Toronto for Game 7.

The Canadiens were full-valued for the win on Monday as they shut down all the Leafs stars. Zach Hyman was Toronto’s best player, and no offense to Hyman, but if he is your best player in Game 7, chances are you are not going to win.

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MONTREAL 3 TORONTO 1 (Montreal wins the best-of-seven series 4-3)

The Montreal Canadiens are heading to the North Division final as they put a blanket over the Maple Leafs and dominated in Game 7, winning 3-1.

Carey Price stopped 29 shots and while he was strong in net Monday, he didn’t have to be as good as he was in Game 5 and 6, as Montreal put on a defensive clinic, keeping the Maple Leafs to the outside for the most part and making it look quite easy in the win.

The first period was scoreless and Brendan Gallagher with his first of the season opened the scoring at the 3:02 mark on a weak goal that Toronto netminder Jack Campbell should have had. Mitch Marner turned the puck over at the Montreal blueline (it was not a great series for Marner who has now gone 18 consecutive playoff games without a goal) as Eric Staal poke checked him. Staal gave it to Gallagher who went over the blueline and snapped a shot from the top of the circle, between the legs of Campbell.

Montreal made it 2-0 on the power play as Corey Perry tipped a Nick Suzuki shot past Campbell at the 15:25 mark of the middle stanza. Pierre Engvall was in the penalty box with the first penalty of the game as he held Cole Caufield.

There was no more scoring until late in the third as Tyler Toffoli scored from his own blueline into the empty net with 2:38 left.

William Nylander scored with 1:36 left to break up the shutout bid of Price but it was too little, too late for the Maple Leafs who have not won a playoff round since 2004 and have lost seven straight games in which they had an opportunity to eliminate a team and move onto the next round.

Price is 4-3 in the playoffs with a 2.24 GAA and a .931 save percentage and will lead the Habs into the next round. He will need to play just as well against the Jets if Montreal hopes to advance to the Stanley Cup semi-finals.

Campbell was 3-4 with a 1.81 GAA and a .934 save percentage. He played quite well and goaltending was not the problem for the Maple Leafs in this playoff.

Zach Hyman had six shots on net to lead both teams.

Eric Staal had a pair of assists for Montreal.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS 4 BOSTON 3 (OT) (Best-of-seven series tied at 1-1)

Casey Cizikas scored the overtime winner Monday as he broke in alone from the Islanders blueline after Jeremy Lauzon’s errant pass went off the skate of David Krejci and right to Cizikas, who snapped a shot over the right arm of Tuukka Rask and into the yawning cage. The goal tied the best-of-seven series at 1 as it heads to Long Island for Game 3.

The Bruins opened the scoring early as Charlie Coyle took a pass from Nick Ritchie, went around Semyon Varlamov and tucked into the far side at the 2:28 mark of the first. It was the only goal of the opening stanza.

The Islanders struck for three goals in the middle frame with two coming on the power play. Josh Bailey and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored with the man-advantage and the two goals sandwiched an even strength goal by Kyle Palmieri as the Islanders took a 3-1 lead into the third.

The Bruins got to within one at the 10:34 mark of the third as Patrice Bergeron took a nice pass from Brad Marchand in the very high slot and beat Varlamov high stick side.

Boston evened the score at 3 when Marchand scored on a wrist shot from near the left faceoff dot. The power play goal sent the game into overtime where Cizikas became the hero.

Varlamov picked up his first win of the 2021 playoffs as he is now 1-2. Varlamov made 39 saves and has a 3.14 GAA and a .912 save percentage. Look for Varlamov to start in Game 3 over Ilya Sorokin after Monday night’s performance.

Tuukka Rask made 35 saves in taking the loss. He has a 2.05 GAA with a .930 save percentage as his record drops to 5-2.

David Krejci led both teams with seven shots on goal.

Cal Clutterbuck had 10 hits.

Scott Mayfield had seven blocked shots.

Nick Ritchie had two minor penalties.



1 by many


Eric Staal – 2

Shots on Goal

David Krejci – 7

Zach Hyman – 6

Brad Marchand – 5

Brandon Carlo – 5

Justin Holl – 5

Jean-Gabriel Pageau – 5

Casey Cizikas – 5


Cal Clutterbuck – 10

Matt Martin – 6

Casey Cizikas – 6

Joel Armia – 5

Jeremy Lauzon – 5

Connor Clifton – 5

Jean-Gabriel Pageau – 5

Penalty Minutes

Nick Ritchie – 4