Montreal Canadiens’ Joel Armia (40) is stopped by Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (36) as teammate Jason Spezza (19) moves in during second period NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey action in Montreal, Tuesday. (Photo by The Canadian Press)

Montreal Canadiens’ Joel Armia (40) is stopped by Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (36) as teammate Jason Spezza (19) moves in during second period NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey action in Montreal, Tuesday. (Photo by The Canadian Press)

Jack Campbell earns shutout, Leafs down Habs to take 3-1 series lead

Jack Campbell earns shutout, Leafs down Habs to take 3-1 series lead

Toronto 4 Montreal 0

MONTREAL — Jack Campbell made 32 saves to record his first post-season shutout, Alex Galchenyuk set up two goals and scored into the empty net against his former team, and the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 on Tuesday to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their first-round series.

Jason Spezza, with a goal and an assist, the red-hot William Nylander and Joe Thornton also scored for Toronto, which can wrap up this best-of-seven meeting between Original Six rivals at home Thursday in Game 5. Alexander Kerfoot had three assists.

Carey Price stopped 24 shots for Montreal. The Canadiens have scored just four times in 12 periods on Campbell in the first playoff meeting between the storied franchises since 1979.

The Leafs, who won consecutive post-season games in Montreal for the first time since the 1967 Stanley Cup final on the heels of Monday’s hard-fought 2-1 victory, haven’t advanced to the second round since 2004.

Toronto is 11-1 all-time when leading a series 3-1 — a situation the Leafs haven’t found themselves in since 1987 — while 91 per cent of NHL teams have advanced in the same scenario all-time.

If the Canadiens can force a Game 6 back in Montreal on Saturday, the Quebec government will allow 2,500 fans into the Bell Centre, which would be the first NHL crowd in this country since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

Toronto opened the scoring 1:27 into the second period when Nylander shovelled home his fourth goal in as many games in the series after taking a slick behind-the-back feed in tight from Galchenyuk on an odd-man rush.

Selected No. 3 overall by the Canadiens at the 2012 draft, a resurgent Galchenyuk has found a home with the Leafs — the fifth club he’s suited up for since Montreal dealt him to the Arizona Coyotes in 2018 for Max Domi.

Campbell stopped Eric Staal at the other end on the next shift before Joel Armia fanned on a great chance later in the period. The Leafs broke the other way with Galchenyuk saucering a pass to Spezza, who was robbed by Price in Game 3 and stopped on a breakaway in Tuesday’s first period, for the 37-year-old to bury his second of the series on a 2-on-1 at 12:28.

The North Division’s No. 1 seed, Toronto kept its foot on the gas, and Thornton made it 3-0 just 2:28 later on a power play when he redirected a Spezza feed at the side of Price’s net. At 41 years and 327 days, the veteran forward became the oldest Leafs player to record a playoff point, passing both Ron Francis the late Allan Stanley (both 41 years, 62 days).

Thornton also became the oldest Leaf to score in the post-season, passing Patrick Marleau (38 years, 222 days).

The goal was Toronto’s third with the man advantage in the series after finishing the regular season a dismal 5 for 73.

Montreal’s anaemic power play — 0 for 11 in the series after two failed man advantages in the first — got another opportunity late in the period, but Brendan Gallagher’s shot that beat Campbell clanked off the post.

The desperate Canadiens pushed to start the third, with Campbell blocking Gallagher’s tipped effort before smothering the rebound.

Thornton took a tripping penalty to give Montreal its fourth power play, but Campbell once again held the fort before Price kept his team alive with a stop on a Zach Hyman breakaway midway through the period.

A healthy scratch in Game 1, Galchenyuk iced it into the empty net to secure the first three-point playoff game of his career as the Canadiens now faces the daunting task of having to win three straight to keep their season alive.

The Leafs were minus captain John Tavares (concussion, knee) and forward Nick Foligno (lower-body injury), while defenceman Travis Dermott got the nod ahead of Rasmus Sandin, and centre Adam Brooks took Riley Nash’s spot.

Staal returned to the Canadiens’ lineup after missing Game 3, but Artturi Lehknonen, who left Monday’s contest in the first period, and Jake Evans, out for a third straight night, were both scratched.

Toronto got the game’s first chance when Spezza — robbed by Price on a spectacular stick save in Game 3 — moved in alone early, but was unable to beat the Montreal goaltender through the five-hole.

The Canadiens got those two man-advantage opportunities in the opening period’s latter stages. And while Montreal had better zone time and a couple decent looks, Campbell was never really threatened.

This report by The Canadian Press was first reported May 25, 2021.

___

Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

NHL

Just Posted

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

A Comox Valley 55+ baseball team isa being organized for the 2021 season. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
18U AAA Carstar Braves start season strong

The Red Deer Carstar 18U AAA Carstar Braves started the Baseball Alberta… Continue reading

(Contributed image).
Online poetry reading to benefit Red Deer women experiencing period poverty

The Period Promise Poetry Powerhouse is a central Alberta collective of some… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron, right, celebrates after scoring on Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the second period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Montreal hangs on for 3-2 win to even series with Golden Knights at a game each

Canadiens 3 Golden Knights 2 (Series tied 1-1) LAS VEGAS — Montreal… Continue reading

New York Yankees Gary Sanchez celebrates his two-run home run during the seventh inning of the team's baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Cole, Sánchez, Chapman come through as Yanks edge Blue Jays

Yankees 3 Blue Jays 2 BUFFALO, N.Y. — Gerrit Cole pitched eight… Continue reading

Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young, right, is fouled by Philadelphia 76ers' Matisse Thybulle during the second half of Game 5 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Hawks rally from 26 points down, stun 76ers in Game 5

Hawks 109 76ers 106 (Atlanta leads series 3-2) PHILADELPHIA — Trae Young… Continue reading

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

OTTAWA — Annamie Paul is firing back against the coterie of party… Continue reading

Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan leaves the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Bill to implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples clears Senate

OTTAWA — A landmark piece of Liberal legislation aimed at harmonizing Canada’s… Continue reading

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) flips a shot on New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Sunday, June 13, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Russian goalies highlight Lightning-Islanders series

NEW YORK — Semyon Varlamov is the wily veteran, coming off a… Continue reading

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime reacts during his ATP Tour Singles, Men, Round of 16 tennis match against Switzerland's Roger Federer in Halle, Germany, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Friso Gentsch-dpa via AP
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime upsets Roger Federer in second round of Noventi Open

HALLE, Germany — Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime earned one of the biggest victories… Continue reading

A course official keeps out of the sun on the seventh green during a practice round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
A different US Open than imagined at Torrey Pines

The spectacular ocean vistas will fill TV screens as usual, along with… Continue reading

Most Read