Pitlick plays hero as Canadiens rally to beat Maple Leafs 3-2 in OT
Montreal Canadiens Rem Pitlick (32) celebrates with teammate Jordan Harris after scoring against the Toronto Maple Leafs during overtime period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Saturday, January 21, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Tristan D'Amours, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, January 21, 2023 10:15PM EST
MONTREAL - After erasing a two-goal deficit in the second period, Rem Pitlick scored 2:14 into overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
Josh Anderson and Rafael Harvey-Pinard scored for Montreal (20-24-3) as the team recorded its 20th win of the NHL season.
Playing in a seventh consecutive game, Samuel Montembeault made 36 saves. The Habs also sacrificed themselves for the netminder, blocking 23 shots.
Mark Giordano and Calle Jarnkrok scored for Toronto. Ilya Samsonov made 28 saves.
Toronto (28-11-8) had a strong start to the game with 15 shots in the opening frame. The Leafs scored first 53 seconds into the game when William Nylander sent a drop-back pass for Giordano in the slot who beat Montembeault under the blocker.
The Leafs took a two-goal lead thanks to a burst of speed from Mitch Marner. His shot was blocked but Conor Timmins recovered the loose puck and found a wide open Jarnkrok who tapped in his 10th of the campaign.
Montreal got back into the game with two goals in the second period. At 1:46 of the second period Nick Suzuki left the puck for Anderson who scored from the left faceoff circle.
Suzuki came inches away from tying the game with a lob from the crease but Auston Matthews cleared the puck clear from the goal line.
Harvey-Pinard scored his first goal of the season and finally levelled the score by hopping on a Samsonov rebound and finding the back of the net at 13:35 of the second period.
With 2:07 left in regulation time, Nylander was called for high-sticking, giving Montreal a 4-on-3 power play for 1:01. Toronto successfully killed the penalty and the game went to overtime.
Pitlick scored the game-winning goal by rushing along the boards and whipping a wrist shot past Samsonov to seal the victory.
The Canadiens had yet another injury to announce before Saturday's game. Forward Cole Caufield will have shoulder surgery and miss the remainder of the season.
Montreal recalled forward Alex Belzile from AHL affiliate Laval Rocket to fill Caufield's roster spot. The winger recorded one assist in Saturday's game.
The Canadiens host the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.
The Maple Leafs will head back to Toronto to play the New York Islanders Monday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2023.