By now most people know my relationship with the Montreal Canadiens. Bandwagon Habs fan during the Roy years, married to a Habs fan now. The bet is still going on, despite the damn flag not changing FOR THREE YEARS.
I’ve come to a realization. The Toronto Maple Leafs will never beat the Montreal Canadiens again. We’ve tried, and tried, and tried, but can’t get it done. It’s been a long road since January 18th, 2014 - the last time the Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens.
What a night that was. It’s Saturday, Hockey Night in Canada was on, the Canadiens were in Toronto. A young Tyler Bozak was centering Phil Kessel. Captain Dion Phaneuf was patrolling the blue line, and Colton Orr was making sure no one messed with the Maple Leafs. Cody Franson scored less than five minutes into the game, a back and forth battle ensued on the scoreboard, but James van Riemsdyk scored the game winner at 14:27 of the third period, and Joffrey Lupul put home the game winner.
Here are the teams iced for this game by both teams, Jonathan Bernier was in net for Toronto, Carey Price in net for Puke City:
Lots of changes since then. What kind of future would we see over the course of 13 games?
A horrible one.
March 1st, 2014: Montreal 4, Toronto 3 (OT)
Max Pacioretty scores the OT winner on the power play after Bernier gets a delay of game penalty. Toronto led 3-2 until PK Subban scored a PP goal to tie the game (Tim Gleason, interference).
March 22nd, 2014: Montreal 4, Toronto 3
Tomas Plekanec scored the winner halfway through the third period. Nazem Kadri tied the game to start the third while Plekanec was in the box for Hooking.
October 8th, 2014: Montreal 4, Toronto 3
To kick off the 2014/15 season, Toronto lost their third straight 4-3 game to Montreal. Tomas Plekanec scored the game winner, breaking the tie, with 43 seconds left in the third period.
February 14th, 2015: Montreal 2, Toronto 1 (SO)
All the scoring came in the first 12:00 of the game. Daniel Winnik gave the Leafs the lead, but Brendan Gallagher tied it up on a power play goal (Tyler Bozak, hooking).
Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais scored for the Canadiens while Mike Santorelli was the lone Leafs shooter to score. The game also featured a David Clarkson game misconduct in the first period.
February 28th, 2015: Montreal 4, Toronto 0
The first solid win for Montreal since the last Leafs win. Carey Price made 30 saves for the shutout, Manny Malhotra scored what would be the game winner five minute sinto the game.
April 11th, 2015: Montreal 4, Toronto 3 (SO)
Toronto gave up a 3-2 lead with nine seconds left in the game when Jacob de La Rose (who?) scored to tie it up. Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais scored for the Habs, while the Leafs came up empty in the shootout. This game featured Casey Bailey’s first NHL goal.
October 7th, 2015: Montreal 3, Toronto 1
The Maple Leafs got 37 shots on net, but couldn’t beat Price. The Canadiens scored twice in the third period (Galchenyuk, Pacioretty) to put this game away.
October 24th, 2015: Montreal 5, Toronto 3
A goal filled second period sealed this game for the Canadiens. Taking a 5-2 lead into the third, the Maple Leafs couldn’t come back.
January 23rd, 2016: Montreal 3, Toronto 2 (SO)
Montreal jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period, but the Maple Leafs fought back with goals from Lupul and Kadri to send the game to a shootout. After 5 rounds, the Canadiens were victorious when a Lars Eller goal gave them a 2-1 edge in the shootout.
February 27th, 2016: Montreal 4, Toronto 1
Matt Hunwick scored in the opening five minutes, but it was all Habs after that, scoring four unanswered goals to take the 10th straight victory over the Leafs.
October 29th, 2016: Montreal 2, Toronto 1
Toronto ties the game briefly after a Kadri goal in the third, but minutes later Shea Weber scores the game winner.
November 19th, 2016: Montreal 2, Toronto 1
William Nylander brings the Leafs within one goal, cutting the Habs lead to 2-1, but there’s no comeback in the cards.
January 7th, 2017: Montreal 5, Toronto 3
36 seconds into the second period Montreal has a 4-2 lead and the Leafs can’t cope. Loss #13 for the buds.
What does reviewing this list of losses teach us?
No matter how close the game is, it’s hopeless to try and beat the Canadiens.
However, this year, it’s not important to do so. Let the Habs win the division, let them face the Rangers. We’ll beat the Senators in round one.
I’m not getting my hopes up for this one.