for this game

Wellwood caps comeback as Maple Leafs eliminate Canadiens

Apr 8, 2007 - 4:51 AM
TORONTO (Ticker) -- Kyle Wellwood may not have secured a playoff berth for the Toronto Maple Leafs just yet, but he did prevent the Montreal Canadiens from getting one.

Wellwood's power-play goal at 3:43 of the third period snapped a tie and capped a furious comeback as the Maple Leafs eliminated the Canadiens from postseason contention with a wild 6-5 victory.

Defensemen Carlo Colaiacovo and Bryan McCabe also scored during the uprising for Toronto (40-31-11), which climbed over Montreal (42-34-6) and into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. However, the Maple Leafs need the New York Islanders (39-30-12) to be held to less than two points by the New Jersey Devils on Sunday in order to qualify for the postseason.

"We can't do anything more, it's out of our hands," Toronto captain Mats Sundin said. "It's really nice to win tonight, and now we have to cross our fingers for New Jersey to win tomorrow."

"The best part of it is that you get to keep this game, regardless of what happens tomorrow, which is out of our hands, unfortunately," Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. "There was a tremendous amount of pressure on this team and on their team. It was all that's good in our game in Canada."

In a game that lived up to its billing, Toronto took a 3-1 lead before Michael Ryder recorded a natural hat trick and set up Chris Higgins for a tally to give Montreal a 5-3 advantage.

It was the second career three-goal effort by Ryder, whose tallies came in a 5:49 span early in the second period.

"He played a strong game, and that's what you need from your top players, to perform on a night like this," Montreal captain Saku Koivu said.

"It's hard to think about that when we won't be playing any more hockey for the rest of the season, which is disappointing," Ryder said.

But Colaiacovo scored late in the session and McCabe forged a 5-5 tie with a power-play goal 58 seconds into the third.

"We were feeling really good about ourselves when we were up two goals in the second period," Higgins said. "I think that goal they scored at the end of the second period really killed us. It was a floater, a half-blocked shot that went in. ... It's incredibly disappointing because we could taste it during the intermission at the end of the second."

Less than three minutes later, defenseman Tomas Kaberle unleashed a shot from the blue line that deflected off Wellwood in front and past goaltender Cristobal Huet, putting the Maple Leafs ahead for good.

"When guys are skating and forechecking hard, we are a tough team to play against," Wellwood said. "We didn't quit. ... We were able to get back in the game by scoring on our power plays, and that was the difference."

Sundin collected three assists and Kaberle set up two tallies for Toronto, which concluded the season series against Montreal with a 4-1-3 record.

"It was one for the fans, that's for sure," Sundin said. "It was one of those games where the momentum switched back and forth for both teams, and we are very happy we came out on top."

Koivu had three assists for the Canadiens, who had won seven of their previous nine games.

"Obviously, we didn't get the win and didn't get the two points, and now we miss the playoffs," Koivu said. "It looked good for us for a while, but a few minutes changed everything. ... We came up short and we can't make any excuses."

"I don't think it has really settled in yet that we are finished playing hockey," Ryder added. "No team wants to be out of the playoffs, and it's disappointing for our organization for us not to be there."

Bates Battaglia gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead at 7:53 of the first period, but Higgins answered with 7:45 remaining with his first goal of the game. Nik Antropov deflected a pass from Sundin past Huet less than four minutes later and Alex Steen gave Toronto a 3-1 bulge 72 seconds into the middle session by poking in a loose puck with one hand on his stick.

Ryder began his outburst just 36 seconds later with a wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that deflected off the glove of netminder Andrew Raycroft and in. He tied the contest during a 5-on-3 power play at 4:32 and capped his hat trick at 7:37 with his seventh tally in eight games.

Jean-Sebastien Aubin replaced Raycroft and surrendered a power-play goal by Higgins, who recorded his third two-goal effort of the season. But Colaiacovo began Toronto's comeback with 2:14 to go in the second, when his wrister from the right point deflected off Montreal rookie Guillaume Latendresse and sailed over a crowd and into the net.

"Every game we've played against Montreal has been like that, with a lot of momentum shifts and the fans from both sides helping to shift the momentum," Wellwood said.

McCabe drew the Maple Leafs even early in the third with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle. Toronto finished 2-for-7 with the man advantage.

"Their power play was the key," Ryder said. "It seems that every time we play them, their power play is on fire. ... We felt positive going into the third. Then they scored those power-play goals and we just couldn't manage to come back."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 4 0 5
    TORONTO 2 2 2 6 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - BATES BATTAGLIA 12 (YANIC PERREAULT, JOHN POHL) 7:53
    MON - CHRIS HIGGINS 21 (UNASSISTED) 12:15
    TOR - NIK ANTROPOV 18 (MATS SUNDIN, ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY)
    16:09
    2ND PRD: TOR - ALEX STEEN 15 (BOYD DEVEREAUX, MATT S

    Apr 7 9:43 PM
  • 22
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 17 roots

    Canadiens vs. Maple LeafsApr 7 9:37 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 5
    TORONTO 6
    3RD PRD: TOR - (PP) KYLE WELLWOOD 12 (TOMAS KABERLE, MATS SUNDIN) 3:43

    Canadiens vs. Maple LeafsApr 7 9:11 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 5
    TORONTO 5
    3RD PRD: TOR - (PP) BRYAN MCCABE 15 (TOMAS KABERLE, MATS SUNDIN) 0:58

    Canadiens vs. Maple LeafsApr 7 9:05 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 4 5
    TORONTO 2 2 4 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - BATES BATTAGLIA 12 (YANIC PERREAULT, JOHN POHL) 7:53
    MON - CHRIS HIGGINS 21 (UNASSISTED) 12:15
    TOR - NIK ANTROPOV 18 (MATS SUNDIN, ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY)
    16:09
    2ND PRD: TOR - ALEX STEEN 15 (BOYD DEVE

    Apr 7 8:47 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 5
    TORONTO 4
    2ND PRD: TOR - CARLO COLAIACOVO 8 (KYLE WELLWOOD, DARCY TUCKER) 17:46

    Canadiens vs. Maple LeafsApr 7 8:41 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 5
    TORONTO 3
    2ND PRD: MON - (PP) CHRIS HIGGINS 22 (MICHAEL RYDER, SHELDON SOURAY)
    14:31

    Canadiens vs. Maple LeafsApr 7 8:36 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 4
    TORONTO 3
    2ND PRD: MON - MICHAEL RYDER 30 (CHRIS HIGGINS, SAKU KOIVU) 7:37

    Canadiens vs. Maple LeafsApr 7 8:20 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 3
    TORONTO 3
    2ND PRD: MON - (PP) MICHAEL RYDER 29 (SAKU KOIVU, ANDREI MARKOV) 4:32

    Canadiens vs. Maple LeafsApr 7 8:15 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 2
    TORONTO 3
    2ND PRD: MON - MICHAEL RYDER 28 (SAKU KOIVU) 1:48

    Canadiens vs. Maple LeafsApr 7 8:10 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    TORONTO 3
    2ND PRD: TOR - ALEX STEEN 15 (BOYD DEVEREAUX, MATT STAJAN) 1:12

    Canadiens vs. Maple LeafsApr 7 8:10 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 1
    TORONTO 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TOR - BATES BATTAGLIA 12 (YANIC PERREAULT, JOHN POHL) 7:53
    MON - CHRIS HIGGINS 21 (UNASSISTED) 12:15
    TOR - NIK ANTROPOV 18 (MATS SUNDIN, ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY)
    16:09
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TO

    Apr 7 7:49 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    TORONTO 2
    1ST PRD: TOR - NIK ANTROPOV 18 (MATS SUNDIN, ALEXEI PONIKAROVSKY)
    16:09

    Canadiens vs. Maple LeafsApr 7 7:43 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    TORONTO 1
    1ST PRD: MON - CHRIS HIGGINS 21 (UNASSISTED) 12:15

    Canadiens vs. Maple LeafsApr 7 7:34 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 0
    TORONTO 1
    1ST PRD: TOR - BATES BATTAGLIA 12 (YANIC PERREAULT, JOHN POHL) 7:53

    Canadiens vs. Maple LeafsApr 7 7:25 PM
  • OddyOh C'mon Leafs, this is your last chance!! Blow 'em out! Time Sundin to pass Sittler's record, time for Raycroft to shine!

    Canadiens vs. Maple LeafsApr 7 1:16 PM
  • 5
    roots
    OddyOh Added 5 roots

    Canadiens vs. Maple LeafsApr 7 1:15 PM