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Maple Leafs 5, Canadiens 1

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs struck for three goals in the first 10:25 of the first period on Saturday night and went on to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 before 19,651 at Air Canada Centre.

Montreal goaltender Carey Price allowed the three goals on Toronto's first four shots of the game before he was replaced by Peter Budaj.

Meanwhile, Toronto netminder James Reimer handled 36 of 37 shots. Budaj stopped 22 of 24.

Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov, Jay McClement, Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel scored for Toronto (23-13-5).

Davis Drewiske scored for Montreal (26-10-5).

The Leafs lead the season series 3-1 with their other two wins coming in Montreal. The teams will play again April 27 in Toronto and could meet in the first round of the playoffs.

The Maple Leafs had a 3-0 lead and the Canadiens had a new goaltender at 10:25 of the first period after McClement steered a backhand shot past Price for his seventh goal of the season. It was only the Leafs' fourth shot on goal. Budaj then replaced Price.

The Canadiens responded with Drewiske's second goal of the season, a snap shot from 53 feet after Brendan Gallagher passed the puck in front of goal from the corner.

But Budaj was shaky on Phanuef's eighth goal of the season, a 59-foot wrist shot at 17:06 that gave the Maple Leafs a 4-1 lead. It was the only shot on goal against Budaj in the first period.

The Leafs struck early with Bozak, who scored his 12th goal of the season 1:58 into the game on a power play. It came 17 seconds after Francis Bouillon was sent off for high-sticking.

Komarov scored his third goal of the season at 8:08 of the first period for a 2-0 lead.

There was some chippy play between the longtime rivals. Montreal's Brandon Prust and Toronto's Frazer McLaren were each given major penalties at 4:30 of the first period after a fight at center ice.

The Leafs took a 5-1 lead at 4:42 of the second when Kessel scored his 15th goal of the season, popping in a pass from James van Riemsdyk, who picked up his second assist of the game. It was the only one of Toronto's 14 shots in the second period that eluded Budaj.

NOTES: The Leafs were without forward Joffrey Lupul (concussion), who has resumed practicing with the team. ... Forward Mikhail Grabovski (stomach ailment) was in the lineup ... The Canadiens were without defensemen Alexei Emelin (knee) and Raphael Diaz (concussion) and forward Colby Armstrong (knee). ... The Habs defeated the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday to become the second team in the Eastern Conference to clinch a playoff berth after finishing last in the Eastern Conference last season. ... The way the playoff picture is shaping up, Montreal and Toronto could meet in the first round, which would be the first playoff series between the teams since 1979. ... Both teams play their next game at home on Monday. The Maple Leafs face the New Jersey Devils and the Habs play the Philadelphia Flyers.
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