Alex Galchenyuk had plenty of memorable nights within the Bell Centre. His most recent standout performance pushed his former team to the brink of playoff elimination.
“It is the playoffs, man,” Galchenyuk said when asked if he talks with anyone on the opposite team. “You know what time it’s right now.
“There is no buddies.”
Galchenyuk was a healthy scratch in Game 1 before coming into the lineup when captain John Tavares had been hurt in a terrifying crash.
“Whatever function our team asks him to play, he comes and does it tremendously,” explained Campbell. “It is not easy to come in and out of the lineup, but whenever he’s in, he has given us a spark.”
Alexander Kerfoot had three assists.
“Scoring, defending, checking, all the way throughout the lineup, the guys dug ,” said Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe. “A lot of amazing efforts all of the way.”
The Canadiens have scored just four times in 12 periods against Campbell at the first playoff series between the teams since 1979.
“We’re playing against a different group,” Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme stated. “If we had been going 5-on-0, we’d go down and up the ice how we want.”
The Leafs, who won consecutive post-season matches in Montreal for the first time since the 1967 Stanley Cup final on the heels of Monday’s 2-1 success, have not advanced into the next round since 2004.
Toronto is 11-1 all time when leading a series 3-1 — a scenario the Maple Leafs have not found themselves in as 1987.
If the Canadiens can force a Game 6 in Montreal on Saturday, the Quebec government will allow 2,500 fans in the Bell Centre, which are the very first NHL audience in Canada since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
“We ought to be thirsty following game to come back to our fans,” Montreal center Phillip Danault said.
Toronto opened the scoring 1:27 into the second period when Nylander scored his fourth goal in as many games in the series after shooting a slick behind-the-back feed in tight from Galchenyuk within an odd-man rush.
Campbell stopped Eric Staal at the other end on the next shift before Joel Armia fanned on a fantastic chance later in the interval. The Maple Leafs broke another way with Galchenyuk sending a pass to Spezza, who scored his second of this show on a 2-on-1 in 12:28.
Even the North Division’s No. 1 seed, Toronto maintained the pressure on, and Thornton made it 3-0 just 2:28 later on a power play when he redirected a feed out of Spezza at the medial side of Price’s net. At 41 years and 327 days, the veteran forward became the earliest Toronto participant to capture a playoff stage, departure both Ron Francis and the late Allan Stanley (both 41 decades, 62 times ).
Thornton also became the oldest Maple Leafs player to score at the postseason, departure Patrick Marleau (38 decades, 222 days).
The aim was Toronto’s third with the man advantage in the series after finishing the regular season a dismal 5 to 73 on the power play.
Montreal’s power play — 0 13 in the show — got another chance late in the period of time, but Brendan Gallagher’s shot that beat Campbell clanked off the post.
Galchenyuk scored into an empty net for the very first three-point playoff game of his profession.
“He just has a fantastic passion for the game. He’s fit in very well, and he’s earned the respect of his teammates throughout the mindset that he’s attracted and throughout the work ethic and the way he’s played on the ice.
“He’s an significant part our team. A night like tonight would be a fantastic example.”