Tomas Tatar – Phillip Danault – Brendan Gallagher
Jonathan Drouin – Max Domi – Joel Armia
Artturi Lehkonen – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Paul Byron
Nick Cousins – Nate Thompson – Nick Suzuki
Victor Mete – Shea Weber
Ben Chiarot – Jeff Petry
Mike Reilly – Cale Fleury
Carey Price – Keith Kinkaid
Christian Folin, Jordan Weal, Brett Kulak
Where would this team be without Joel Armia? The emergence of the 26-year-old Finn as the Canadiens goal scoring leader has been one of the best (and most undertold) stories of this young season.
Armia’s game-winner was the goal that his teammates were talking about in the post-game scrums. Stealing the puck from Jake Muzzin and scoring on a breakaway just seven seconds into the third period was the goal that turned the contest. According to Brendan Gallagher, “It was a huge goal. It changed the momentum of the game.”
Indeed it did.
After a second period where the Habs were flat, the Armia goal gave them an immediate boost allowing Montreal to play a strong third for the win.
And where would the Canadiens be without Carey Price?
It’s fashionable, of course, to join the mindless group think on social media, claiming that the Canadiens best player could be making yet one more impossible stop. Rather than out-of-control cartwheels, Price simply makes the very difficult saves look routine. He faced 31 shots and 20 Leaf scoring chances making outstanding saves on Alexander Kefoot and Ilya Mikheyev.
Three of the Canadiens five goals were scored on the breakaway including two by Jonathan Drouin. The offensive production was redemption for lazy defensive play at the end of the first period, allowing Muzzin to score with just 16 seconds left.
When asked about giving up another late period goal, Claude Julien curtly said, “That’s the next thing I have to fix.”
The Canadiens played a tired Maple Leafs team on the second half of a back-to-back and faced their backup goalie but they took advantage of the opportunity to collect two points.
The Habs will have a day off on Sunday, returning to practice on Monday at Brossard.
Plus / Minus
▲ Carey Price, Joel Armia, Jonathan Drouin
▼ Mike Reilly, Paul Byron, Jesperi Kotkaniemi