Habs castoff teaches former mates a lesson

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

A century of tradition didn't help the Montreal Canadiens at the Air Canada Centre last night.

The Maple Leafs, with a new coach and a slew of young players forging a new identity in Toronto, couldn't have cared less that part of the Hockey Hall of Fame festivities this weekend include honouring the Canadiens on their 100th anniversary.

Thanks to equal parts determination and speed, the Leafs flicked off a three-game losing streak with a 6-3 victory against Les Glorieux, sending the Canadiens to just their second regulation loss of the season.

After a flurry of goals in the second period, Leafs defenceman Pavel Kubina scored on a power play on a smart feed from Nik Antropov at 1:13 of the third, giving Toronto enough of a cushion to win for the first time in a week.

And how about that Mikhail Grabovski? The 24-year-old Habs castoff extended his goal-scoring streak to four games before a season-high crowd of 19,512, and sprinkled in a few jaw-dropping moves for good measure. The Leafs avenged an embarrassing loss to Montreal in their home opener on Oct. 11.

Niklas Hagman scored two goals, and it goes without saying that the Hagman-Grabovski-Nikolai Kulemin trio again was the Leafs' most exciting line. Importantly, the Leafs got scoring from a second unit, as the line of Antropov, Matt Stajan and Alexei Ponikarovsky combined for seven points.

Both teams lost a player on the same play in the first period. Habs forward Tom Kostopoulos was ejected with a boarding major after he smacked Leafs defenceman Mike Van Ryn from behind into the boards.


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