MONTREAL (AP)—The Canadiens are finally getting some offense out of Radek Bonk. They might need more if leading scorer Alex Kovalev gets suspended.
“(Bonk has) been that kind of dark horse for us this year,” Rivet said. “Everyone notices the people that get all the points but guys like Steve Begin and Radek Bonk, who are blocking shots and doing the real tough things to win hockey games, he’s been a big, big part of our team this year and it’s good to see him pot a couple of goals.”
Toronto captain Mats Sundin scored twice but the Maple Leafs lost for the second time in Montreal in three days. They are in 12th place in the East, seven points behind the Canadiens. The top eight teams make the playoffs.
“We’re still alive,” Sundin said. “We have another game (Sunday) night and we’ll have to bounce back. There’s not much left to talk about when it comes to what we’ve got to do and what we’re looking for and how we’re going to do it.”
Kovalev was given two majors—one for elbowing—and a game misconduct at 17:55 after he leveled Maple Leafs center Darcy Tucker with his left arm in retaliation for a hit.
“I don’t care,” Kovalev said when asked if he was concerned about a possible suspension. “If they don’t suspend him and they suspend me, that’s being ridiculous. They didn’t call him, that means they let them do whatever they want. Are we just going to watch and wait until we get hurt? I’m not going to let that go. I mean, he tried to hurt me. He had a good chance and he barely touched me, and I didn’t let go my chance.”
Canadiens coach and GM Bob Gainey supported Kovalev’s actions.
“I think the best person to protect anybody is they protect themselves and I think that’s message that he sent, ‘Don’t mess with me or I’ll take care of myself,’ and I think that’s not a bad message to send,” Gainey said.
Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson Jr. expected the league will review the play, though Tucker doesn’t expect anything to come of it.
“It’s the game of hockey,” Tucker said. “He’s playing hard for his team, I’m playing hard for my team, and things like that are going to happen.”
The Canadiens outscored the Maple Leafs 11-3 in the two games after losing three of four.
“Before these two games we had trouble scoring and we knew what these two games meant in the standings,” said Ryder, who tied it at 1 with his career-best 26th 8:38 in.
Bonk put Montreal up 2-1 with his third goal of the season at 14:57 before scoring his second of the game with 7.7 seconds remaining in the opening period. He also scored in Thursday’s 5-1 win over Toronto after managing just one goal in 48 games.
Sundin scored his second of the game 21 seconds into the third period for Toronto’s first 5-on-5 goal in 20 periods. Sundin opened the scoring 2:47 in as the Maple Leafs took an early lead after allowing four first-period goals Thursday.
Markov got credit for his 10th goal midway through the second to put Montreal up 4-1 after a video review showed the puck crossed the goal line before rebounding out of the net off Mikael Tellqvist’s right pad.
Ryder got credit for his team-leading 27th—his second of the game—at 18:37 of the second when Mathieu Dandenault’s shot deflected off the Canadiens right wing on its way past Tellqvist.
Sundin’s second of the game—his 19th—also required a video review under similar circumstances.
Canadiens defenseman Craig Rivet traded blows with Sundin after he was checked behind the Montreal net in the first. Tempers flared again in the third as they got tangled up and ended up on the bottom of a pileup just inside the Canadiens blue line.
Things degenerated at 14:02 as Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi tried to start a fight with Montreal’s Todd Simpson, sending all four officials scrambling. All 10 skaters on the ice were paired up, with Dandenault and Toronto’s Jason Allison engaging in a spirited fight.
“It had to do with what happened to Mats,” Domi said. “That’s the simplest answer. You guys can all talk about frustration and everything. We were all frustrated, obviously.”
The Maple Leafs lost three of four against Montreal after beginning the season 3-1 against their longtime rivals. … Ryder had 25 goals as a rookie in 2003-04. … Canadiens forward Jan Bulis was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. … Montreal has sold out each of its 33 home games this season.