MONTREAL — The Toronto Maple Leafs took an early lead and never looked back, cruising to a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night at the Bell Centre.
William Nylander was no match for the Canadiens and picked up two goals and one assist in the NHL pre-season contest. Alexander Kerfoot scored two goals late in the third period. Playing on Toronto’s second line alongside Nylander and Kerfoot, Nick Robertson collected three assists.
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In his first full start for the Leafs, Matt Murray made 28 saves and allowed one goal.
Jonathan Drouin scored Montreal’s lone goal, while Juraj Slafkovsky picked up one assist. Jake Allen, also in his first full start of the pre-season, made 25 saves and allowed four goals.
The Canadiens remained winless in pre-season action. Both teams meet again on Oct. 12 at the Bell Centre for both teams’ regular-season openers.
It took the Leafs just over two minutes to score the first goal of the game. Mitch Marner, Michael Bunting and Nylander combined for the tick-tack-toe play on the power play to fool Montreal’s penalty killing unit and break the ice.
Toronto added a second goal when Aston-Reese struck a loose puck that bounced off the corner and back inside the left faceoff circle.
The Leafs took a three-goal lead in the second period after Robertson dispossessed Justin Barron and Arber Xhekaj along the boards and located a wide open Nylander in front of the net. The Calgary-born Swede went backhand to beat Allen for the second time of the night.
Montreal tried to respond with a goal of their own but Murray stood tall. Mike Hoffman connected with Slafkovsky on a two-on-one but the netminder denied the rookie his first pre-season goal.
The Canadiens finally scored with 5:45 remaining in the game. Slafkovsky found Drouin inside Murray’s crease to spoil the netminder’s shutout bid.
Kerfoot scored two goals to seal the win. The centre regained Toronto’s three-goal advantage less than a minute later when his shot from along the boards bounced off Allen’s side and into the back of the net.
The 28-year-old then grabbed Allen’s rebound on the power play to notch his second of the night.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2022.