Suzuki scores in OT as Canadiens rally to edge Leafs 5-4 in pre-season tilt
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen (34) makes a glove save as Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Mitchell Marner (16) looks for the rebound during second period NHL preseason hockey action in Toronto, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, October 2, 2023 10:38PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 2, 2023 10:40PM EDT
Nick Suzuki scored 31 seconds into overtime as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 in NHL pre-season play Monday.
The Canadiens captain buried a Cole Caufield rebound off the post in the extra period to complete a Montreal comeback that saw the visitors score twice in the final seven minutes of regulation to erase a two-goal deficit.
Kirby Dach and Johnathan Kovacevic, with a goal and an assist each, Josh Anderson and Mattias Norlinder replied for Montreal, which got 25 stops from Jake Allen. Sean Monahan had two assists.
Max Domi scored his first goal at Scotiabank Arena as a member of the Leafs, John Tavares added two of his own, and Noah Gregor also scored for Toronto. Ilya Samsonov made 21 saves. Timothy Liljegren chipped in with two assists.
Domi, whose father Tie was a fan favourite with the Leafs from 1995 through 2006, played his first home game in Toronto after signing a one-year contract in free agency this summer.
The veteran winger — on his seventh team ahead of a ninth NHL campaign — pushed the Leafs' advantage to 3-1 with five minutes left in the second period when the puck pinballed to him off the rush.
The 28-year-old, who scored his first with the Leafs last week in a game against the Buffalo Sabres in St. Thomas, Ont., got a nice ovation when he was announced in the starting lineup.
Domi was also involved in a scrum not long after finding the back of Montreal's net that resulted in a Toronto power play.
But the visitors cut the deficit to 3-2 when Dach scored short-handed with 11.6 seconds left in the period.
Leafs centre Auston Matthews, who's getting a long look on the penalty kill in pre-season, rattled Allen's crossbar eight minutes into the third with the Leafs down a skater.
Toronto finally made it 4-2 when Tavares fired his second of the night on a one-timer.
The Canadiens got back to within one when Kovacevic blasted a point shot past Samsonov before Anderson scored with 40.2 seconds left in regulation to force OT.
The teams dressed lineups mostly made up of NHL veterans, with Montreal taking a 1-0 lead on a first-period man advantage when Norlinder's point shot went in off the stick of Leafs defenceman Jake McCabe.
Toronto responded when Gregor, on a professional tryout and looking to earn a bottom-six forward spot, snapped a puck that also changed direction before beating Allen.
The Leafs, who picked up victories Friday and Saturday in Montreal without their stars taking the ice, took the home side's first lead on a man advantage five minutes later when Tavares chipped a shot upstairs from in tight.
Matthews had a terrific chance on the penalty kill for Toronto in the second period that Allen stopped with his glove before Domi and Dach traded goals.
QUESTIONS ON 'D'
The Leafs appear largely set at forward, but parts of their defence corps still have question marks with opening night set for Oct. 11 against Montreal. Free-agent signing John Klingberg (upper-body injury) hasn't been on the ice since last week, Connor Timmins is dealing with a "significant" lower-body issue, and Mark Giordano — the oldest player in the NHL turns 40 on Tuesday — is coming off a difficult playoffs.
The Canadiens announced Monday that 2023 first-round pick David Reinbacher will spend the 2023-24 season in Switzerland's top league. The move to return the 18-year-old defenceman to his European club comes after Juraj Slafkovsky — the No. 1 selection in 2022 — struggled to find traction during his first campaign in North America.
Toronto: Hosts the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.
Montreal: Visits the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.