Kovalchuk scores overtime winner as Canadiens rally past Leafs

Jake Carter
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Saturday, February 8, 2020


Montreal, QC – For the second straight game, the Leafs needed extra time against their opponent. But on Saturday night in Montreal, it was Ilya Kovalchuk’s second game-winning goal in overtime this season as the Canadiens defeated the Leafs 2-1.

Kovalchuk followed up a rebound from Nick Suzuki in the extra frame which beat Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell to give his team the win.

Marco Scandella scored for Montreal with 2:33 left in the third period to tie the game at 1-1. Montreal is now five points behind Toronto for third in the Atlantic division.

John Tavares scored the lone goal for the Leafs, who are now 29-19-8 on the season.

Campbell, in his second start as a Maple Leaf, made 29 saves including some key stops in the second half of the contest. The Canadiens outshot the Leafs 20-2 from the second intermission onwards.

"I'm definitely not happy, giving that one up to give them life again and blow that lead in the third,” Campbell told reporters after the game. “I just know my ability and I’m confident with my team in front of me. They battled all night, so one more save and we get two points."

Montreal had two great chances within the first minute of the game. Jake Muzzin had a giveaway in his own zone onto the stick of Tomas Tatar, but he missed the net wide. As play continued, Phillip Danault had a scoring chance, but Campbell made a nice glove save.

Campbell made two more great saves nearly five minutes later. He stopped a centering pass attempt from Nick Cousins before making a pad save on Jake Evans.

It was a back-and-forth opening period, but neither team was able to score. After the first period, the shots were even at 7-7.

Justin Holl nearly opened the scoring in the first minute of the second period, but his shot glanced off the crossbar before Carey Price cleared it out of the crease. Price made 22 saves in the win.

The Leafs went down a man for the first time in the game midway through the second period as Travis Dermott went off for tripping. Montreal had good puck movement on the man advantage but couldn’t score as Muzzin had two key shot blocks on the shift.

Tavares had a nice chance shortly after the penalty kill, but Price made the right pad save to keep it a scoreless game.

After 40 minutes, Toronto led in shots 21-11. Montreal only had four shots on goal in the period.

Just over a minute into the third period, Toronto finally opened the scoring. It started with a great pad save from Campbell on Suzuki. Zach Hyman took the puck the other way on a 3-on-2 with Alex Kerfoot and Tavares. Hyman dropped it for Kerfoot, who in-turn dropped it for Tavares. The Toronto captain made no mistake with his shot, beating Price to make it 1-0 for the Leafs.

Campbell had to stay sharp in the first half of the period, as the Canadiens were outshooting the Leafs 12-1 to begin the final frame.

Toronto went to the penalty kill with just over eight minutes to go for a too many men penalty. Campbell made a good toe save on a one-timer on the Montreal powerplay, barely keeping the puck out of the net. Toronto killed off the remainder of the penalty but remained on its heels.

With 2:33 to go in the period, Montreal tied the game at 1-1. Scandella’s point shot found its way through traffic, beating Campbell through the five-hole to tie the game.

No one scored in the final two and a half minutes, as the game needed overtime. Montreal outshot Toronto 16-1 in the period, as Toronto’s only shot was the Tavares goal.

Campbell made a great save early in the extra frame on Tomas Tatar on a 2-on-1, keeping the game tied at 1-1.  

Shortly after, Montreal capitalized. Campbell stopped a breakaway from Suzuki, but Kovalchuk potted the rebound to give Montreal the 2-1 win.

Next up for the Leafs is a visit from the Arizona Coyotes at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday night.