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Canadiens surge in third, top Leafs
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Brendan Gallagher provided the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, as the Montreal Canadiens lit the lamp three times in the final frame to take a 5-2 decision over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday at Air Canada Centre.
Max Pacioretty potted a pair of goals, while Alexei Emelin and Brian Gionta each scored once for the Canadiens, who have earned a point in nine straight games (7-0-2) since a 6-0 setback against the Leafs on Feb. 9.
Carey Price posted 21 saves in the victory.
Frazer McLaren and Clarke MacArthur each scored once, while Ben Scrivens allowed four goals on 39 shots in the setback, Toronto's third in its last five games.
Despite being outshot, 28-12, over the first 40 minutes, Montreal was able to enter the third locked in a 2-2 tie thanks in large part to some stellar play from Price between the pipes.
The Canadiens then erupted for three goals in the third, starting with Gallagher's go-ahead marker at the 9:08 mark. David Desharnais won an offensive zone faceoff back to Josh Gorges, who flipped a low shot on net from the right point that Gallagher got his stick on from in front and deflected past Scrivens for a 3-2 edge.
Pacioretty padded the lead at the 14:26 mark when he came up with a loose puck near the Toronto blue line and skated into the right circle before ripping a shot past the short-side of Scrivens to make it 4-2.
Gionta added an empty-netter with 2:26 left to account for the final margin.
Toronto opened the scoring at the 13:44 mark of the first when McLaren flipped a backhand on net from in close that Price stopped, but the rebound bounced off the body of McLaren and past Price to make it 1-0.
Montreal answered just over three minutes later on Emelin's blast from the high slot that deflected off the leg of Toronto center Tyler Bozak and skipped through the five-hole of Scrivens to tie the game at the 16:56 mark.
Toronto forward Mike Brown leveled Gorges from behind late in the first period, resulting in a five-minute major and a game misconduct. Montreal couldn't capitalize in the first, but finally took advantage of the extended power play early in the second.
With time winding down on the man advantage, P.K. Subban broke his stick on a shot from above the right circle that Scrivens sticked away, but the rebound deflected off the skate of Pacioretty and found the back of the net for a 2-1 Montreal lead at the 4:17 mark of the second.
The Leafs had a prime opportunity to even things at the 11:45 mark of the second when Mikhail Grabovski was awarded a penalty shot, but Price got his right pad on Grabovski's forehand attempt to kept Montreal in front.
Toronto then found the equalizer at the 15:47 mark when Nazem Kadri made a nice feed from the top of the left circle to the bottom of the right circle for MacArthur, who stopped the puck with his skate before rifling a blast past Price to knot the game.
Montreal improved to 5-1-2 on the road this season ... Toronto had won both matchups against Montreal this season ... Toronto fell to 4-5-0 at home ... Montreal finished 1-for-2 on the power play, while Toronto failed on its only chance with the man advantage.
02/27 22:53:47 ET