Caufield scores second OT winner in as many games to help Habs move past Maple Leafs
Cole Caufield scored at 4:43 of overtime as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in a potential North Division playoff preview on Monday.
The rookie sniper received an assist from Jeff Petry and scored his second NHL goal – and the second OT winner in as many games.
Tyler Toffoli and Philip Danault scored in regulation for Montreal (24-18-9). Jake Allen made 27 saves for the Canadiens, who came in after securing two straight wins, including Saturday’s spectacular 2-1 overtime triumph at the Bell Center over the Ottawa Senators as Caufield was also the hero. Petry and Nick Suzuki added three assists each.
The first-place Leafs fell 5-3-0 to the Canadians, who chase the Winnipeg Jets for third place in the division.
Toronto lost veteran forward Nick Foligno to a lower-body injury just before Matthews scored late in the second period.
WATCH | Caufield plays the OT hero again in the Canadiens’ win over the Maple Leafs:
The Leafs and Canadiens will play two more times this week – Thursday and Saturday in Toronto – although Montreal also meets the Senators in Ottawa on Wednesday.
The Canadiens were once again less injured with No. 1 goaltender Carey Price, Captain Shea Weber, as well as forwards Tomas Tatar, Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher, while winger Jonathan Drouin remains out for personal reasons.
Leafs defenseman Justin Holl did not dress after taking a puck to the face on Saturday, allowing Timothy Liljegren to draw Jake Muzzin. Zach Hyman and Zach Bogosian also remain sidelined with injuries.
Shed 2-1 at the end of the third period, Danaut blocked his fifth house with 51.8 seconds left in regulation after beating Matthews on a faceoff in the offensive zone.
Toffoli missed the net on a breakaway in extra time in search of his second goal of the night before Matthews and Mitch Marner couldn’t connect on a 2 on 0. John Tavares then hit the post for Toronto .
Matthews broke a 1-1 tie with 2:39 left in the second, tipping Muzzin’s point shot in front of Allen as he battled past Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson.
WATCH | Rob Pizzo of CBC Sports recaps Week 14 in the All-Canadian Northern Division:
The goal was Matthews’ sixth in as many games, 18th in his last 18 games and 18th in 22 career outings against the Canadiens.
Toffoli put Montreal on the board earlier in the period on a power play when he took a pass from Suzuki and beat Campbell for his 28th at 1:55 on Toronto’s third penalty of the night.
Allen stopped William Nylander on a breakaway later in the period, but Matthews would not be denied on his deflection.
Montreal looked to push in the third, with Campbell turning down Ben Chiarot on a delayed penalty before stopping Josh Anderson to the side of his net before Danault forced OT late.
Rielly opened the scoring 4:07 off the first on a point shot through a screen for his fifth goal of the season, and first in 13 games. The streak was set up by Alex Galchenyuk, who scored his very first point against Montreal in his 10th game against the team that drafted 3rd in 2012.
Montreal came close to making it into the table later in the period when Caufield shot Campbell’s crossbar on the power play. Toronto was almost 2-0 seconds later when Marner stole the puck from Alexander Romanov, but Allen got a share of the breakaway chance.
Campbell then stole Jesperi Kotkaniemi with his glove on another advantage before also denying Eric Staal.