for this game

Souray's goal the difference in Canadiens' win

Feb 27, 2007 - 4:51 AM
MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Thanks to defenseman Sheldon Souray, the Montreal Canadiens did not need a shootout to top the Toronto Maple Leafs this time.

Souray scored his team-leading 22nd goal midway through the second period and the Canadiens withstood a comeback attempt in the third to post a 5-4 victory over the Maple Leafs.

In the previous five meetings between the Northeast Division rivals this season, Montreal emerged victorious just twice, needing a shootout on both occasions. In this one, however, the Canadiens managed to build a three-goal lead after 40 minutes before having to hang on for dear life in the final period.

Montreal answered Bates Battaglia's goal four minutes into the game with three of its own, including Mike Johnson's 10th of the season with 50 seconds to go in the opening session.

Defenseman Bryan McCabe closed the gap to 3-2 early in the middle period, but the Canadiens scored the next two tallies, with Souray's 16th on the power play this season with 7:36 left in the second opening the three-goal bulge.

Playing in his second career game, Jeremy Williams scored his second career goal 62 seconds into the third. Montreal goaltender David Aebischer then allowed a weak tally at 4:40 by Alex Steen, who drew Toronto within one.

"When you shoot, you're trying to score," said Steen, who beat Aebischer high on the short side with a wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle. "In the third period, we wanted to get a lot of shots on him. We got a fast one, then a couple of shifts later, I used a defenseman as a screen and it went in. It was nice."

"I let in a couple of weak goals, but overall, I still made some great saves," Aebischer said.

Montreal was not pleased with its play early in the third.

"They took aim right away and scored right away, and they got the second one pretty quick after that," Canadiens captain Saku Koivu said. "That's not the way we wanted to come out, but that's the way we've played the last couple of weeks. When we have the lead, we've been a bit overprotective, and they came and got those goals."

"We need to maintain the pace of our play when we have the lead," Johnson added. "That's something we need to do better."

But the Maple Leafs were unable to get the equalizer despite recording five of the game's final seven shots, giving the Canadiens their fourth win in five contests.

Koivu and Michael Ryder each had a goal and an assist and Aebischer made 32 saves for Montreal (33-26-6), which moved one point ahead of idle Carolina (32-25-7) for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

Aebischer was making his first start in five games, as rookie Jaroslav Halak went 3-1-0 over the previous four. The duo will have to help get the Canadiens into the postseason, with All-Star Cristobal Huet sidelined for the remainder of the regular season with a hamstring injury.

"We need both to be strong until the end of the season," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "I thought this was a good game for Aebby to come in and show what he has. He struggled a bit, but he came up with the win."

Captain Mats Sundin had two assists and McCabe set up a goal for the Maple Leafs (30-24-9), who trail the Hurricanes by two points for the final playoff spot in the East.

Battaglia opened the scoring with his 11th goal of the season at 4:10, but Tomas Plekanec drew Montreal even 98 seconds later. Ryder converted a power-play chance with 5:48 to go in the first and Johnson unleashed a one-timer from the high slot that beat netminder Andrew Raycroft for a 3-1 lead.

McCabe cut the deficit to one during a man advantage 92 seconds into the middle session before Koivu answered on the power play with his fourth goal of the season vs. Toronto. Off a faceoff in the right circle, Souray fired a one-timer past Raycroft for a power-play tally and a 5-2 bulge.

"That was a bomb," Raycroft said. "At the same time, you want to make those big saves, especially in a game like tonight, but I wasn't able to do that."

Souray, who has been the recent subject of trade rumors, is six goals shy of matching the single-season club record for a defenseman set by Guy Lapointe in 1974-75. His 22 tallies are the most among all NHL blue-liners this season.

"Our first period wasn't very good and our second wasn't any better," Steen said. "We tried to battle back, but if you don't play a full 60 minutes, it's going to cost you."

Raycroft was pulled immediately after Souray's goal. Making his 24th consecutive start, he stopped just 11-of-16 shots before giving way to Jean-Sebastien Aubin.

"I felt great," Raycroft said. "I was excited and I was looking forward to getting out there, and then all of a sudden, it was 5-2. I didn't think I was horrible out there. I just couldn't find a way to get in front of anything."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 1 2 4
    MONTREAL 3 2 0 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - BATES BATTAGLIA 11 (JOHN POHL, HAL GILL) 4:10
    MON - TOMAS PLEKANEC 14 (ALEXEI KOVALEV) 5:48
    MON - (PP) MICHAEL RYDER 21 (SAKU KOIVU, ANDREI MARKOV)
    14:12
    MON - MICHAEL JOHNSON 10 (RADEK BONK) 19:10
    2ND PRD: TOR

    Feb 26 10:11 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 4
    MONTREAL 5
    3RD PRD: TOR - ALEX STEEN 13 (BRYAN MCCABE) 4:40

    Maple Leafs vs. CanadiensFeb 26 9:42 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 3
    MONTREAL 5
    3RD PRD: TOR - JEREMY WILLIAMS 1 (BATES BATTAGLIA, MATS SUNDIN) 1:02

    Maple Leafs vs. CanadiensFeb 26 9:37 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 1 2
    MONTREAL 3 2 5 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - BATES BATTAGLIA 11 (JOHN POHL, HAL GILL) 4:10
    MON - TOMAS PLEKANEC 14 (ALEXEI KOVALEV) 5:48
    MON - (PP) MICHAEL RYDER 21 (SAKU KOIVU, ANDREI MARKOV)
    14:12
    MON - MICHAEL JOHNSON 10 (RADEK BONK) 19:10

    Feb 26 9:17 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    MONTREAL 5
    2ND PRD: MON - (PP) SHELDON SOURAY 22 (UNASSISTED) 12:24

    Maple Leafs vs. CanadiensFeb 26 9:02 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    MONTREAL 4
    2ND PRD: MON - (PP) SAKU KOIVU 18 (CHRIS HIGGINS, MICHAEL RYDER) 10:02

    Maple Leafs vs. CanadiensFeb 26 8:54 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 2
    MONTREAL 3
    2ND PRD: TOR - (PP) BRYAN MCCABE 11 (MATS SUNDIN, TOMAS KABERLE) 1:32

    Maple Leafs vs. CanadiensFeb 26 8:38 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 1 1
    MONTREAL 3 3 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - BATES BATTAGLIA 11 (JOHN POHL, HAL GILL) 4:10
    MON - TOMAS PLEKANEC 14 (ALEXEI KOVALEV) 5:48
    MON - (PP) MICHAEL RYDER 21 (SAKU KOIVU, ANDREI MARKOV)
    14:12
    MON - MICHAEL JOHNSON 10 (RADEK BONK) 19:10

    Feb 26 8:16 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    MONTREAL 3
    1ST PRD: MON - MICHAEL JOHNSON 10 (RADEK BONK) 19:10

    Maple Leafs vs. CanadiensFeb 26 8:16 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    MONTREAL 2
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) MICHAEL RYDER 21 (SAKU KOIVU, ANDREI MARKOV) 14:12

    Maple Leafs vs. CanadiensFeb 26 8:06 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    MONTREAL 1
    1ST PRD: MON - TOMAS PLEKANEC 14 (ALEXEI KOVALEV) 5:48

    Maple Leafs vs. CanadiensFeb 26 7:50 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    MONTREAL 0
    1ST PRD: TOR - BATES BATTAGLIA 11 (JOHN POHL, HAL GILL) 4:10

    Maple Leafs vs. CanadiensFeb 26 7:47 PM
  • 5
    roots
    OddyOh Added 5 roots

    Maple Leafs vs. CanadiensFeb 26 7:31 PM