TORONTO - The rivalry is alive and well.
And on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre, it was getting better by the minute.
Always flamboyant defenceman P.K. Subban provoked it early on for the Montreal Canadiens and always dangerous forward James van Riemsdyk settled the score late for the Maple Leafs.
In an at-times wild and always wildly entertaining night at the ACC, the Leafs prevailed with a 5-3 win over their historic Original Six foes from La Belle Province.
The clincher was van Riemsdyk’s 19th goal of the season at 14:27 of the third period, a perfect finish off a perfect feed from red-hot Tyler Bozak. And with it, a little in-your-face celebration from the fired-up Leaf.
The puck had barely hit the back of the net when van Riemsdyk grabbed the crest of his sweater and waved it like a flag, clearly mocking Subban’s goal celebration two nights earlier in Ottawa after the Canadiens defenceman had scored the overtime winner.
“We didn’t like it after their (first) goal where he was kind of taunting our bench a little bit,” said van Riemsdyk, who is now just two shy of his single-season high in goals. “I’m usually not one to engage in stuff like that, but I was a little bit fired up.