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Canadiens race to big lead, beat Maple Leafs 5-2

MONTREAL (AP) Josh Anderson and Cole Caufield had three-point games and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 on Monday night.

Anderson had two goals and an assist, and Caufield a goal and two assists as the Canadiens won their third straight. Rem Pitlick also scored and Brendan Gallagher had two assists. Samuel Montembeault made 35 saves.

Interim head coach Martin St. Louis paired Anderson and Caufield on a line with Nick Suzuki, and it paid off instantly.

"It's important that these guys know that someone is looking out for them to not get manhandled on the ice," St. Louis said. "What I like about Andy is his speed, obviously his size, but he can play the game too. It's not just about adding size, you have to add someone who can complement them and someone that can stop the play. Tonight was a great example of what this line can do."

Caufield said of St. Louis: "I think he trusts me. He's putting me out there in situations to succeed and I'm playing with two great players too, so that helps. He trusts my game and I think that's the biggest part for me. I just have to keep playing the right way and it'll keep going like that."

Anderson said he and his linemates bring different skills to the game.

"I think we all complement each other," Anderson said. " ... For me, I'm just trying to find open space when they have the puck and try to create room for them too."

Ilya Mikheyev and Pierre Engvall scored for Toronto. Petr Mrazek allowed five goals on 25 shots.

Toronto's Morgan Rielly said the Maple Leafs have allowed too many odd-man rushes from their opposition and they'll need to go back to the drawing board to fix the issue.

"It's been a common theme," he said. "I think if you look back at our last couple of weeks in terms of the chances against off the rush, as a defenseman you've got to take some responsibility on trying to make good defensive plays on those instances. But as a group, we've got to do a better job of trying to limit those."

The Canadiens opened the scoring at 2:58 of the first when Anderson pushed off a defender and tapped the puck past Mrazek.

Montreal moved out to a two-goal lead when Caufield scored on a one-timer from Anderson at 19:10 of the period. Caufield picked up his fifth goal in six games during Martin St. Louis' tenure as interim head coach.

The Canadiens scored three times in the second period.

Hoffman took 38 seconds to score in the second. On the rush, Hoffman skated down to the right faceoff circle and his shot deflected off Mrazek, giving Montreal a three-goal lead.

Caufield and his linemate combined again, helping Anderson score his 12th of the season.

Montreal added another in the second period when Brendan Gallagher sent a cross-ice pass for Pitlick, who scored on a two-on-one for a five-goal advantage.

The Maple Leafs countered with two quick goals in the third. Mikhevyev deflected Rielly's shot from the point at 15:17. Then, Engvall's wrist shot beat Montembeault 45 seconds, but Toronto ultimately ran out of time.


Maple Leafs: At Columbus on Tuesday night to finish a two-game trip.

Canadiens: Host Buffalo on Wednesday night to wrap a two-game homestand.


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Updated February 21, 2022

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