Leafs defence hammers Habs
On a night for honouring hockey's stars of the past, Toronto's top defensive pair made like future Hall of Famers.
Bryan McCabe scoredtwo power-play goals and added an assist, and Tomas Kaberle tallied a power-play goal and two assists Saturday to lead the Maple Leafs to a 5-1 pounding of the Montreal Canadiens in the annual Hall of Fame game in Toronto.
It was Kaberle's second consecutive masterful performance against the Canadiens. He netted a hat trick and tacked on a shootout goal in the Leafs' 5-4 win Oct. 28 at Montreal.
The slickblue-liner's three points on Saturday gave him the NHLscoring lead among defencemen with 17 points in 19 games.He is riding an eight-game point streak, during which he has racked up a whopping 15 points.
Kaberle credited McCabe with creating opportunities for his teammates by drawing the attention of opponents.
"His guy stands beside him," Kaberle said. "It opens it up for us."
Matt Stajan and Nik Antropov completed the Leafs' scoringSaturday, while Kyle Wellwood chipped in three helpers.
Jean-Sebastien Aubin made 25 saves in filling in for injured starter Andrew Raycroft, who is expected back from a sore groin in time for Thursday's game at Boston.
New Hall of Famers honoured
The victory, Toronto's season-high fourth in a row, was the team's second in two games since losing captain Mats Sundin for three to four weeks to an elbow injury.
"We got scoring from all the lines and that's what you need when your top player is out," McCabe said.
Canadiens goaltending legend Patrick Roy, former Leafs and Habs forward Dick Duff and Calgary Flames part-owner Harley Hotchkiss, all of whom will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, were introduced to the crowd before the game. They were joined by Dan Brooks, the son of deceased American coach Herb Brooks, who is also slated for induction.
CBC's Scott Morrison will also be honoured Monday by the Hall of Fame.
The class of 2006 received a warm reception from the Toronto crowd, as did a group of Canadian war veterans on hand for Remembrance Day.
Montreal may have been pining for a return by Roy after watching starting netminder David Aebischer allow four goals on 28 shots before being yanked late in the second period in favour of Cristobal Huet, who made 13 saves in relief.
Canadiens captain Saku Koivu scored his fourth goal of theseason to tie the game 1-1 afterthe first period, but Montrealdoomed itself by taking five minor penaltiesin Toronto's three-goal second.
"That's what killed us tonight. We really made it hard for ourselves with those calls," Koivu said.
Big blasts by Bryan
Defencemen Sheldon Souray argued that a lack of effort did in the Canadiens.
"They just outworked us. We started losing battles to guys like Matt Stajan, guys that you wouldn't expect that would to out-compete us, but they did," Souray said.
After an uneventful start to the game, Souray was whistled for shooting the puck into the netting behind his goal, giving the Leafs a two-man advantage. Working from the left point, Kaberle slid a feathery touch pass to McCabe for a one-timer that zipped past Aebischer's glove at 11:21.
The Canadiens tied the game less than three minutes later with a pretty triangular passing play that ended with an uncovered Koivu tipping in a feed from Guillaume Latendresse.
Toronto regained the lead on a de facto power-play goal mid-way through the second period. Planted in front of the Montreal goal, Stajan potted a rebound one second after a penalty to Andrei Markov expired.
Kaberle remains hot
Kaberle continued his hot play against the Habs minutes later, stepping in from the point to blast a low shot past Aebischer.
Another lengthy shot eluded the Canadiens goalie before the end of the period when Antropov used Montreal defenceman Craig Rivet as a screen to score on a low wrist shot from inside the blue-line.
That goal made the score 4-1 and spelled the end for Aebischer, who was pulled in favour of Huet.
McCabe used his booming point shot to tally his second power-play marker of the game with 5:14 left in the third period.
With files from Canadian Press