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.
Auston Matthews (1-2—3) factored on three of the @MapleLeafs‘ five goals to record his second career three-point game in the #StanleyCup Playoffs (also Game 4 of 2020 SCQ). #NHLStats: https://t.co/GA96v6X9hl pic.twitter.com/C6EaaoTyQy— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 23, 2021
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.