MONTREAL — John Tavares scored in overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night in a battle for second place in the Atlantic division.
Andreas Johnsson, Nikita Zaitsev and William Nylander also scored for the Maple Leafs (34-17-3), who extended their win streak to four games. Frederik Andersen stopped 35-of-38 shots.
Andrew Shaw, Tomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher scored for the Canadiens (31-18-7), who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Carey Price, with his first loss since Jan. 10, made 28 saves.
With the win, Toronto remains second in the Atlantic with 71 points. Montreal is third with 69 points.
Tavares scored the winner 2:17 into overtime with a backhand glove-side on Price after the Maple Leafs successfully killed off a Canadiens power play to start the extra frame.
It was the first meeting between Toronto and Montreal since the season opener, which the Leafs won 3-2 in overtime.
The teams combined for three goals in 4:42 to start the game as the newest chapter in one of hockey’s biggest rivalries lived up to expectations.
Shaw made his return to the lineup after missing 15 games with a neck injury and wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Shaw netted his 12th of the season 51 seconds into the game when he deflected Jeff Petry’s wrist shot past Andersen.
Montreal managed to contain some of Toronto’s most explosive forwards like Tavares and Austin Matthews in the first period as it was the Leafs’ fourth line that made the difference.
Zach Hyman stole the puck from Shea Weber behind the net before finding Johnsson with a perfect backhanded cross-crease pass at 2:20 of the first. Johnsson has now scored in three straight games.
Zaitsev gave Toronto a 2-1 lead at 4:42 with a wrist shot from the point on a pass along the boards from Par Lindholm. Price was screened by Frederik Gauthier and never saw the puck.
Montreal scored the equalizer 1:13 into the second period when Tatar surprised Andersen glove-side with a seemingly harmless, floating shot after carrying the puck from deep in his own zone.
With Matthews in the penalty box for delay of game, Gallagher gave the Canadiens a 3-2 lead after being left all alone in front of goal.
Nylander answered right back 71 seconds later with a wrist shot from the face-off dot while using Weber as a screen.
Notes: Price was playing his 600th NHL game… Earlier Saturday, the Canadiens acquired forward Dale Weise and defenceman Christian Folin from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for forward Byron Froese and defenceman David Schlemko. Weise previously played 152 games with the Canadiens from 2014 to 2016.
Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press