3 Keys: Maple Leafs at Canadiens, Game 4 of first round


No. 1 Maple Leafs at No. 4 Canadiens

7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS

Toronto leads best-of-7 series, 2-1

Nick Foligno will be a game-time decision when the Toronto Maple Leafs look to take a 3-1 lead in their Stanley Cup First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

Foligno is day to day with an undisclosed injury and did not play in Toronto’s 2-1 win in Game 3 at Bell Centre on Monday. He had four assists in seven-regular season games after being acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 11.

Montreal has scored four goals in the series, including one in each of the past two games, both losses. Canadiens forward Josh Anderson said they have a sense of urgency heading into Game 4, needing a win to even the series.

“Tonight is such an important game,” Anderson said. “We all know where we are right now, down 2-1. “You’ve got to come out and bring that energy and momentum, and it all starts with that first shift tonight. I think that is going to be a key factor of tonight’s game.”

Anderson said the Canadiens are treating it like an elimination game.

“We need everybody,” he said. “We know what’s at stake here. We’ve got to do everything we can to tie it up.”

Teams that hold a 3-1 lead are 292-29 (91.0 percent) winning a best-of-7 NHL playoff series, including 1-0 this season.

Here are 3 keys to Game 4:

1. Price has faith

Canadiens goalie Carey Price said after the game Monday he was not frustrated at his team’s lack of offense and that he was confident the goals would come. His words seem to have resonated with his teammates.

“It’s big,” Montreal forward Nick Suzuki said. “Obviously he is the rock of our team and made some outstanding saves [Monday] night to keep us in the game. We want to score goals and we want to win games. So, I like our chances.”

2. Protecting the lead

The Maple Leafs were satisfied with the outcome of Game 3 but were critical of their own play in the third period, when they were outshot 15-2. Goalie Jack Campbell managed to preserve the victory, but Toronto must be better when protecting a lead.

“We don’t like defending as much as we did, but our guys defended very hard,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “The guys competed. It was a tough period. They were coming at us real hard. I’d like to see us relax and make a few more plays so we can settle the game down.”

3. Caufield provides spark

He didn’t score a point, but Canadiens rookie forward Cole Caufield had a successful playoff debut; the 20-year-old had three shots on goal in 15:50 of ice time, including 3:20 on the power play. He was scratched for the first two games of the series.

“There’s a lot to like,” Suzuki said. “[He] plays with a lot of energy [and] sees the ice well, which I think is an underrated part of his game.”

Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach HymanAuston MatthewsMitchell Marner

Alex GalchenyukAlexander KerfootWilliam Nylander

Pierre EngvallRiley NashIlya Mikheyev

Joe ThorntonJason SpezzaWayne Simmonds

Morgan RiellyTJ Brodie

Jake MuzzinJustin Holl

Rasmus SandinZach Bogosian

Jack Campbell

Frederik Andersen

Scratched: Adam Brooks, Travis Dermott, Martin Marincin, David Rittich, Michael Hutchinson

Injured: Nick Foligno (undisclosed), John Tavares (concussion/knee), Ben Hutton (illness)

Canadiens projected lineup

Tomas TatarPhillip Danault — Josh Anderson

Joel Armia — Nick Suzuki — Cole Caufield

Tyler ToffoliJesperi KotkaniemiBrendan Gallagher

Artturi LehkonenPaul ByronCorey Perry

Ben ChiarotShea Weber

Joel EdmundsonJeff Petry

Brett KulakJon Merrill

Carey Price

Jake Allen

Scratched: Michael Frolik, Alex Belzile, Erik Gustafsson, Alexander Romanov, Xavier Ouellet, Cayden Primeau

Injured: Eric Staal (undisclosed), Jake Evans (undisclosed)

Status report

Keefe said he hadn’t decided if Campbell would make back-to-back starts. … Staal, a forward, skated for about 15 minutes Wednesday after missing Game 2. Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said any lineup changes would be game-time decisions, including Lehkonen, who left in the first period Monday with an undisclosed injury. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top