Auston Matthews three-point night leads Leafs past Montreal to even playoff series

Toronto was playing without captain John Tavares

Minus their captain John Tavares, the Toronto Maple Leafs picked up the tempo, backed by Auston Matthews goal and two assists, in a 5-1 romp over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday to even their first-round NHL playoff series 1-1.

Rasmus Sandin, Jason Spezza and Alexander Kerfoot also scored, while William Nylander potted a goal and added a helper. Mitch Marner had a two-point night with a pair of assists.

Toronto was playing without Tavares after he suffered a concussion and knee injury in a collision in Game 1. Tavares is out indefinitely

Matthews put the Leafs ahead 2-1 early in the second period.

Toronto’s struggling power play finally connected at 13:20 when Sandin blasted a shot past Habs goalie Carey Price for the rookie defenceman’s first-career playoff goal.

Montreal pulled Price for an extra attacker with just over six minutes left in regulation, but Kerfoot sealed the game with an empty net goal with 1:23 remaining.

Jack Campbell made 22 saves in the Toronto net.

The series shifts to Montreal for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Tuesday.