TORONTO - With three points separating four Northeast teams, all currently in the playoff picture, a divisional regulation-time win is gold.
After twin triumphs over the Montreal Canadiens, the Maple Leafs settled for silver on Wednesday in a 5-2 loss at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto had the bigger, brawnier lineup, with Fraser McLaren scoring, but the Habs had the hustle and were swarming the Leafs in their zone most of the evening, enjoying a 39-23 margin on the shot clock.
“It’s tough in this division because anyone can come out in first,” Montreal defenceman Max Pacioretty said before the game. “And that’s why if you’re not winning your division, you can slip away pretty easily.
Pacioretty had the insurance goal with 5:34 to play after David Desharnais beat Leafs faceoff ace Tyler Bozak badly. Brendan Gallagher got loose from Korbinian Holzer for the tip.