Cole Caufield scores in OT again as Canadiens come back to beat Leafs


Habs now tie Winnipeg Jets for third place in the North Division

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Rookie Cole Caufield scored with 16.8 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday at the Bell Centre.

It was the second consecutive overtime winner for Caufield and it allowed the Canadiens to move into a tie with the Winnipeg Jets for third place in the North Division. The Jets lost 2-1 to the Senators in Ottawa.

This was another example of the Canadiens’ resilience as Phil Danault, who is prized for his defensive play, sent the game into overtime with some last-minute heroics. He won a faceoff against Auston Matthews in the offensive zone and them jammed the puck behind Jack Campbell to tie the game with 52 seconds remaining in regulation time. It was his fifth goal of the season and his first in 14 games.

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Allen didn’t have a chance late in the second period when Matthews showed why he’s the leading goal scorer in the NHL. The Canadiens did a good job of limiting Matthews’s chances and he didn’t have a shot on goal through the first 37 minutes of the game, Joel Edmundson was checking Matthews in front of the net but he and Allen were helpless as Matthews redirected Jake Muzzin’s shot from the blue line to give Toronto a 2-1 lead at 17:21. It was Matthews’s 39th goal of the season.

Matthews has 18 goals and 28 points in 22 career games against the Canadiens.

Morgan Rielly gave the Leafs a 1-0 lead with a goal early in the first period when he beat Allen with a shot from the blue line. Former Canadien Alex Galchenyuk played a key role on the goal. He set up Rielly with a backhand pass from the behind the net and then went to the front of the net to screen the goaltender.

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Montreal failed to take advantage of two power-play chances in the first period, but Caufield created some excitement when he rang a shot off the crossbar during the first power play. Seconds later, Mitch Marner had a shorthanded breakaway but Allen made the save.

The Montreal special teams delivered early in the second period. Tyler Toffoli converted a cross-ice pass from Nick Suzuki to tie the score with a power-play goal at 1:55.

The penalty-killers had to do their bit when the Canadiens took consecutive penalties before the period was five minutes old. Toronto managed four shots on goal with the extra man but Allen wasn’t seriously challenged and the best scoring chance belonged to Montreal when Campbell stopped Artturi Lehkonen on a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush with Jake Evans.

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The Canadiens continue to play without six regulars but there were signs Monday that the team is getting healthier. Shea Weber, Tomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher all skated on their own and coach Dominique Ducharme said Tatar and Weber are day-to-day although Gallagher’s broken thumb will keep him on the sidelines through the end of the regular season.

Goaltender Carey Price, who been out since April 19 with a concussion, will resume practicing Tuesday. He’ll need some time to regain his conditioning but the Canadiens will want him to see action before the payoffs begin.

phickey@postmedia.com

twitter.com/zababes1

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