Tyler Toffoli – Nick Suzuki – Cole Caufield
Jake Evans – Phillip Danault – Brendan Gallagher
Paul Byron – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Josh Anderson
Joel Armia – Eric Staal – Corey Perry
Ben Chiarot – Shea Weber
Joel Edmundson – Jeff Petry
Brett Kulak – Erik Gustafsson
Carey Price – Jake Allen
Tomas Tatar, Michael Frolik, Alexander Romanov, Charlie Lindgren
Alex Belzile, Laurent Dauphin, Lukas Vejdemo, Jesse Ylonen, Cale Fleury, Otto Leskinen, Xavier Ouellet, Cayden Primeau, Michael McNiven
Jonathan Drouin (undisclosed), Jon Merrill (undisclosed), Artturi Lehkonen (undisclosed)
It has been 444 days since the last time fans appeared at the Bell Centre. Just 2500 spectators were in the building for game six but their impact was immediate. Accompanying Diane Bibeau on the organ to proudly sing the Canadian anthem, the fans did their part by filling the arena with emotion.
The emotion propelled the Canadiens to record the first eight shots of the game dominating the Leafs for the first five minutes. When Josh Anderson took the first penalty 1:57 into the first period, the shots were 6-0 for the Habs. And Montreal had a few more chances while short-handed.
The energized Canadiens controlled the play for the first half of the frame but were unable to score, which is something Habs fans have heard before.
The Maple Leafs pushed back in the last five minutes but Carey Price was outstanding. First Price made a superb glove save on a Mitch Marner shot that changed directions off the boot of Jeff Petry. (This would be the first occurrence of a play that would re-appear in the third period.) Then Price made brilliant pad save on a one-timer from Nick Foligno with just 30 seconds remaining in the first period.
Price leads the way
The stop left the Bell Centre faithful chanting CA-REY! CA-REY! Fans were back, Price had stood tall once again, and it was a Saturday night playoff game between the Leafs and Canadiens. What could be better?
The second period was rather physical and played much tighter finishing with six shots for each team. Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin left with an apparent groin injury and did not return to the game.
But as the game moved forward, the Canadiens were down to four defencemen as Dominique Ducharme lost trust in the third pairing of Erik Gustafsson and Brett Kulak. The two depth D-men played just six minutes each in a game that lasted more than 75 minutes. Gustafsson played just 4:30 at even strength.
Stapling the third-pair to the bench put an enormous burden on the top-four defencemen with Shea Weber logging 37:09 of icetime. Ben Chiarot and Jeff Petry were in the 35-minute range while Joel Edmundson had 28:38 of icetime. This led to costly giveaways by Edmundson and Chiarot.
After Corey Perry had give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead on two power-play goals, it was Petry’s stick and skate that redirected pucks behind Price which took the game to overtime.
In overtime, the game was thoroughly dominated by Toronto. Shots in the extra frame were 13-2 for the Maple Leafs. For the final 24:45 of the game, Toronto outshot Montreal 28-10. It was an absolutely spectacular performance by Carey Price.
It is very hard to believe that Jesperi Kotkaniemi spent the first game in the press box. Kotkaniemi is the Canadiens leading scorer with three goals in five games. The 20-year-old has seven goals in 15 career playoff games.
The Canadiens have pushed this series to a seventh game mostly due to the play of Carey Price. The two teams will decide who moves on to round two on Monday night in Toronto.
▲ Carey Price, Jesperi Kotkaneimi, Jake Evans, Tyler Toffoli, Shea Weber
▼ Josh Anderson, Jeff Petry, Joel Edmundson
Check out the game preview here: Maple Leafs @ Canadiens: Fan Support | HABS GAME 6 PREVIEW