Toronto coach Randy Carlyle tried to take the high road after the game and said there are some positives the team can take from a game like this moving forward. He also paid tribute to the Canadiens.
"I just think that [Montreal goalie] Carey Price made some big-league stops," Carlyle said. "He made some stops when we got some momentum going and that's the way it goes. We've got to continue for our group to continue to push and stick with the program, build on some of the positives and obviously there are negatives we need to continue to clean up and that's what we're going to do."
Montreal's Max Pacioretty was arguably the best player in the game scoring two goals, one shorthanded, and an assist with 10 shots on goal. After his shorthanded goal, he turned his stick around like a sword and made a motion like he was putting it back into its sheath. That did not sit well with Carlyle or the Maple Leafs.
"The shorthanded goal kind of stirred our emotions a bit from the standpoint of, if they want to hot dog it and sachet the sword and spin it and those kind of things, that's when we finally got involved in the game," Carlyle said. "We got emotionally mad and we were better after that. It kind of stirred the pot."
The Maple Leafs have a couple of significant injuries with centre David Bolland and left-winger Joffrey Lupul out, but GM Dave Nonis must be feeling a little bit of heat to shake things up nevertheless. His team is showing no sign of shaking off the current funk -- having lost 6-0 at home to Columbus last Monday and then blowing a 4-1 lead in Pittsburgh two nights later before dropping a 3-2 decision to the Sabres in Buffalo Friday night.
And things don't get much easier moving forward. Toronto's next eight opponents are: San Jose, Dallas, Ottawa, Boston, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
The Maple Leafs were just inches away from turning defeat into victory. They hit three goal posts: Mason Raymond in the first period; Phil Kessel early in the second; and Jay McClement late in the middle frame.
Desperate times; desperate measures
Trailing by two goals, but on the power play, the maple Leafs pulled their goalie for the extra attacker with just under three minutes to play.
Hands of gold
With his team trailing 4-0 and the game pretty much in hand for the Canadiens, Toronto's James van Riemsdyk still managed to score one of the prettiest goals of the season. Standing on the doorstep, he managed to lift a shot high into the net on the short side with seemingly no room. The goal sparked his team as Mason Raymond struck 22 seconds later and suddenly Toronto was back in the game.
Tough guy watch
You'll recall the results of their first fight this season opening night when Colton Orr flipped George Parros and the Montreal enforcer was knocked cold after cracking his face on the ice and had to be taken off on a stretcher. It was rather horrifying to see and Parros suffered a concussion on the play. The two came together on their first shift after Orr got engaged with Montreal defender P.K. Subban, but when Parros wanted to 'go', Orr declined.
At 4:33 of the second period the pair squared off in a heavyweight tilt with no serious punches landed. One point of interest, when they fell to the ice Orr appeared to try to grab Parros's head so he wouldn't conk it on the ice.
Can't buy a break
Toronto left-winger van Riemsdyk was sour when he was tripped on a partial breakaway and no penalty was called Friday night in Buffalo. Then on Saturday, he was tagged for being in the crease when teammate Dion Phaneuf seemingly tied the game 1-1 early in the first period and the goal was waved off. Van Riemsdyk was, in fact, slightly in the crease, about as much as Brett Hull was in Buffalo June 19, 1999. That goal counted, much to the chagrin of Sabres fans.
Carlyle is not exactly thrilled at the prospect of HBO cameras following his team starting soon for its 24/7 series.
"Well, I wouldn't say it's high on my list for things to happen in my life, but I'm participating because that's what my job tells me I have to do, so I'll just leave it at that," Carlyle said.
Toronto's leading defenceman scorer, Cody Franson, took warm-up, but was unable to play. Franson has no goals and 13 assists in 26 games. Following the game, Carlyle said he is out with a lower body injury. Morgan Rielly, 19, drew back into the lineup after sitting out Friday's game in Buffalo as a healthy scratch.
600 and counting
Toronto's checking centre Jarred Smithson played in his 600th NHL game in Montreal. Smithson, 34, has played with the Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators and Edmonton Oilers. He was signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Maple Leafs.
Now that's an anthem
The spectators, Habs and Leafs fans alike, provided a rousing rendition of O Canada. It was actually quite moving.
Mike BrophyMike Brophy brings a wealth of hockey writing and broadcasting experience to CBC Sports, having covered junior hockey for 14 years before joining The Hockey News as its senior writer for 17 years starting in 1992. Most recently, the Burlington, Ont., native worked as a writer/commentator at Rogers Sportsnet and as co-host of The Power Play on SiriusXM. Mike has written four books, including My First Goal, featuring 50 players describing their first NHL goals.
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