Wait the Leafs have brought who all with them to Québec? Well, if this recap makes any sense at all it’ll be a miracle.
We’re told wonder child Jonathan Drouin is back in the lineup for the Habs tonight. Good for them. I assume he’s going to get a hat trick. Lotta “bubble” guys here for the Leafs, we’ll see if anyone can step up and keep the Habs winless in the pre-season.
Leafs start off in the offensive zone but eventually they’re chased out and Dominic Moore gets called for slashing. Less than 90 seconds into game, Toronto’s on the penalty kill. Eric Fehr in particular does a lot of work keeping the puck in the Montréal zone, and the Leafs get out of it without incident.
Curtis McElhinney vs Carey Price is totally a fair contest you guys. Also Peter Holland is in the lineup for the Habs. Not confusing at all.
Justin Holl keeps the puck in and gets it to Moore for around the net for a chance but no dice.
1-0 Someone allows Jonathan Drouin the puck. Somehow this results in a goal and we’re all shocked. Note -- Miro Aaltonen cannot keep up with Drouin, and Drouin’s hands are still a thing of beauty.
Colin Greening and Michael McCarron have decided the way to stick in the NHL is to fight. McCarron might be right (Ray Ferraro disagrees with me). They get time in the box, the game resumes.
Connor Brown gets the puck away from the Habs and fights to prove he in no way belongs in this lineup. Sadly if the way to prove this is “score on Carey Price with no support” he’s not gonna do it.
Drouin gets the puck and buzzes McElhinney a couple of times. Curtis looks sort of hapless but the puck stays out. Eventually McElhinney corrals the puck and gets a whistle.
The Leafs really look better than they should against this Habs lineup. I keep seeing Ben Smith do good things. Whether Smith has stepped it up or the Habs just suck that much I’m not sure.
The masthead is discussing Calle Rosen vs Travis Dermott and Andreas Borgman. I will defer to the experts that say Rosen looks like less of a lock than he did earlier.
Aaltonen - whose line has been up against the Drouin line a lot, gets called and we’re on the PK again
2-0 Shaw gets a loose puck and even from my seat on the couch I can see his eyes light up as he pounces, wheels and fires it over McElhinney. Andrew Shaw is not exactly a first liner but you don’t let him get a puck right in front of the net.
Mark Streit gets called for something and we end the period on the power play. Josh Leivo draws a penalty and we’ve got 5 on 3 until the horn goes.
Toronto outshot Montreal 9-5 this period and spent a large amount of time in the Habs’ zone. This should not be happening. The Habs may be winning the game but it’s not exactly impressive.
If it wasn’t for Carey Price has been a refrain for several seasons and that continues during this powerplay. Chance after chance gets denied until Connor Carrick manages to fire it through traffic and past Price.
2-1 and the Leafs have some 5 on 4 time left.
The Drouin line gets back on the ice at even strength and it starts to look more like a hockey game and less like five skaters vs Carey Price. Not much more though. Price is going to be carrying a team again this season.
We’re over 4:30 into the period and the Habs still have no shots on goal. We get deeper and deeper into the period and the shot clock goes to 10-1 Leafs.
Oh man, a shot by Rosen gets deflected, beats Price, the goal light goes on but it’s a false alarm — off the post.
Jeez — a shot hits McElhinney and his skate blade flies off. Ray Ferraro complains about goalies being pampered as play is stopped. It takes so much effort to get the blade back on that Sparks comes in.
A couple seconds of play (11 to be precise), things are fixed and Sparks’ night is over.
After a bit of aggressive play against Mete, Eric Fehr gets called for a trip and Leafs are back on the PK again. If taking penalties is factored in to the 4C battle, Smith is currently winning.
McElhinney makes another save he can coast on for a few weeks to keep it 2-1. Has to make a couple of good ones on this PK which is new, frankly.
The power play seems to have been a bit of a turning point for the Habs. McElhinney is getting more work. He’s managing to keep the puck out without inspiring a lot of confidence.
2-2 Marincin manages to break Brendan Gallagher’s stick and score on Carey Price in the same shot. Not sure it makes up for his giveaway that led to the Drouin goal but we’re tied.
3-2 Johnsson to Borgman, off the post and behind Price.
This group of Leafs is, for the most part, playing for their jobs. The Habs are generally playing for pride - going down six and oh in the pre-season is embarrassing — and that just doesn’t seem to be enough.
Pacioretty takes exception to a hit by Grundstrom and gets called for a slash. We end the period as we ended the last one - on the power play.
Colin Greening makes Price go diving, full spread-eagle on the ice. Someone has for sure told these guys that a win means they might stay up.
4-2 Andreas Johnsson gets it through Price on a nifty feed from Greening and we’ve got another power play goal.
To repeat, this should not be happening. I’m almost getting disappointed Matthews had only four points on Monday.
Gallagher muscles in on McElhinney but is denied, Patches tries something, is also denied. Drouin might be creating chances for his wingers but he can’t make them score.
Leafs are taking their foot off the gas a little with still fourteen minutes to go and Holland nearly makes them pay. He almost beats McElhinney but gets his skate and then the post.
Jonathan Drouin gets a massive amount of time and space and it’s really only luck that keeps him from scoring his second of the game.
Leivo gets Brown a chance but Carey Price.
McElhinney’s definitely too relaxed by now. He wanders well back out of his net to retrieve the puck and I am not ready for a heart attack, Curtis.
Leafs (Grundstrom) get called for interference with about five minutes left and it’s another kill for Toronto.
A desperation save by McElhinney keeps Pacioretty off the board. Drouin at some point is going to decide his wingers are useless and try to score again himself.
Connor Brown gets called for delay of game and will spend the rest of the game in the box. Montreal calls a time out and it’s six on four in the Leafs zone with Price out of the net.
Absolute chaos in front of the Leafs net as players bat at the puck and each other.
Leafs get the puck almost through the neutral zone but can’t get to the net.
Soshnikov fires it down but misses the empty net.
Nice glove save by McElhinney on Shea Weber. I’m being informed he has made 26 consecutive saves.
Leafs get the puck down into the Habs zone with 10 seconds to go and the clock runs out on the game.
Still not entirely convinced that game actually happened. I’m sure Babcock was damn pleased with the compete level of this lineup and Claude Julien might be starting to get worried about his team, pre-season notwithstanding.