MONTREAL — The Toronto Maple Leafs won their third consecutive NHL pre-season game, beating the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 on the road Saturday night.
Matthew Knies, Fraser Minten, and Nicholas Robertson all scored for Toronto, which won their second consecutive game against Montreal in as many nights. Kaiden Guhle was the lone goal scorer for Montreal.
The Bell Centre crowd were given an appetizer of what the Oct. 11 opener could look like, with all the physicality and animosity of a rivalry game presenting itself.
Much like the previous evening’s game, Toronto would be the first team on the scoreboard. Seven minutes into the first period, Knies’ wraparound attempt slid under the skate of Sam Montembeault.
Montreal would control the rest of the period and create some dangerous scoring opportunities, using creative passing to find open shots. But the Canadiens were unable to convert, heading into the first intermission down a goal.
Montreal would continue the one-way traffic to open the second period as Juraj Slafkovsky found himself on a breakaway two minutes in but was denied by a sprawling Martin Jones.
Despite all the pressure, Toronto netted a second goal on the power play. With Kirby Dach in the box for high-sticking, a defensive zone turnover led to a two-man breakaway that was finished off by Minten.
Toronto would add a third goal in the dying moments of the period. Robertson exited the penalty box and found himself all alone in on goal, rifling the puck into the top corner.
Much like the first two periods, Montreal spent the beginning of the third enjoying long stints of control in the Maple Leafs’ end with nothing to show for it.
Montreal would get one back on the penalty kill with just under 10 minutes left in the final frame. Following a faceoff in the offensive zone, Guhle was able to find space unnoticed and buried Montreal’s first goal of the game.
Both teams head to Toronto on Oct. 2 to play their third and final pre-season game against one another.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 30, 2023.
Elias Grigoriadis, The Canadian Press