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Leafs finish season as they started, lose 4-3 to Habs

Montreal takes the first and last games of the year by an identical 4-3 score.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

And so it comes to a close, in the same way it started, with the Leafs outmatched by their opponents from Montreal.

The paths of the two franchises head in different directions.

Where the Canadiens lineup remains largely unchanged from their matchup months ago, the Leafs version looked considerably different from its Oct. 8 counterpart.

Infused, were Zach Sill, Andrew MacWilliam, Tim Erixon, Joakim Lindstrom, Casey Bailey, and Colton Orr, symbols of a franchise in transition.

Despite an early goal from Phil Kessel, his 25th of the year and 59th point (his worst total on a points per game basis as a Leaf), Montreal answered quickly with David Deharnais putting one past Bernier 16 seconds later.

Bailey, one of those new faces, enters his summer on a high note, picking up his first goal on a deflection in the slot, exactly where a player of his size should be in the offensive zone. It wasn't his only notable moment in the game either, as the quiet rookie nearly scored again, creating a breakaway for himself with two minutes remaining in the opening frame. Later, he took his first minor penalty too, for what it's worth.

Despite the three goals, there were just a dozen shots, combined, in what was largely an uneventful first period.

The second period started in much the same way the first period did, only the early goal went to Montreal, as Tomas Plekanec finished off an odd-man rush with a nice shot in the high slot.

Shortly after, Bozak would sneak into the slot to finish a nice passing play that started with a Kessel kick-pass along the boards.

The goal gave Bozak his 49th point of the year, matching his career high from 2014 and restoring the Leafs lead.

With the period winding down, a retaliation penalty to Eric Brewer after an Emelin clipping-like hit, saw him head to the dressing room, with Zach Sill serving it. And with 8.9 seconds left in the period, Canadiens rookie and former Sweden captain and the World Juniors, Jacob de la Rose would register his sixth point in his 31st game of the year.

In the third, after a scramble in front of Bernier, a Brendan Gallagher goal was called back after he bumped Bernier before tucking it by him.

Price, the league's near-lock MVP, kept the game tied midway through the third with two breakaway stops of Kessel and Nazem Kadri respectively.

For Montreal, a team fighting to win the Atlantic Division and secure home-ice advantage in the early rounds of the playoffs, these two stops proved to be important. With the score tied, overtime gave the Canadiens the single point they needed, win or lose, to win the division and lock in a matchup with the Ottawa Senators.

After a scoreless overtime period, and a plethora of game misconducts from an angry Montreal bench, the final game of the year would go the distance, ending in a shootout.

Galchenyuk would open skills competition, with Price stopping Bozak the other way.

Deharnais, with a snapshot from the hashmarks, would also score on Bernier, who continues to struggle in the shootout. Following suit, Price, as he has done all year, stopped Lupul and earned the 4-3 victory.