Leafs’ Andersen sets franchise record for wins in a season
TORONTO (AP) — Zach Hyman scored early in the third period, Frederik Andersen made 31 saves to set a franchise mark with his 38th win of the season, and the Toronto Maple Leafs closed out their schedule with a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.
Auston Matthews scored his 34th goal to match his jersey number and added an assist for Toronto (49-26-7), which also set a club record for points in a season with 105.
Nazem Kadri and Patrick Marleau had the other goals for the Leafs, while Jake Gardiner had two assists.
The Leafs still have to wait one more day to find out their first-round playoff opponent after the Boston Bruins beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2, and the Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime.
A win for the Bruins on Sunday against the Florida Panthers, who were eliminated from postseason contention earlier Saturday, would see Boston move into first in the Atlantic Division and set up a meeting between Tampa Bay and Toronto.
A victory in regulation for the Panthers, meanwhile, sets up a Leafs-Bruins matchup.
Daniel Carr and Mike Reilly scored for Montreal (29-40-13). Carey Price stopped 26 shots for the visitors as the Canadiens wrapped up a disappointing season.
The players observed a moment of silence before the game at Air Canada Centre to honor the victims of Friday’s horrific crash in Saskatchewan that saw a tractor-trailer collide with a bus carrying a junior hockey team, killing 15 people and injuring 14 others.
The Leafs and Canadiens also sported Broncos decals on their helmets.
Tied 1-1 through 40 minutes, Hyman chipped a rebound past Price for his 15th goal of the season after Matthews took the initial shot.
Leo Komarov ruffled some Canadiens’ feathers moments later when he elbowed Price in the crease, but Montreal couldn’t capitalize on the power play.
Andersen made a good stop on Brendan Gallagher’s one-timer with four minutes to go, before the Leafs went to the power play with 3:45 left when Michael McCarron hacked Matthews to the ice in front on what could have been his 35th goal of the season.
But Kadri wouldn’t be denied on the power play with 2:50 left when he backhanded his 32nd over Price, with Tyler Bozak and Morgan Rielly, who both have connections to Saskatchewan, picking up assists.
Reilly then scored his third with 40.2 seconds left in regulation before Marleau added his 27th on a Price mistake with 9.8 seconds remaining.
Down 1-0 after Matthews extended his point streak to 10 games — he has seven goals and seven assists over that span — late in the first, the Canadiens came close on a power play six minutes into the second, but a Toronto penalty killer got a stick on Alex Galchenyuk’s shot with Andersen down and out.
The Leafs goalie then denied Brendan Gallagher on the doorstep on another Montreal man advantage before also stopping the Canadiens forward on a deflection.
Montreal got even with 3:56 left in the second when Carr scored his sixth on a rebound past a falling Andersen after McCarron took the initial shot.
Price then flashed out his glove with 2:24 remaining on James van Riemsdyk, who was looking to stretch his career-high mark in goals one further to 37.
With nothing to play for but pride and jobs at training camp next September, Montreal had the better chances until Matthews struck on the power play with 1:55 left in the first when William Nylander wheeled down from the point and delivered a sweet cross-ice feed for a wide-open net.
The 34th goal of the season for Matthews came in just his 62nd game after he missed time on three separate occasions this season with various injuries.
The goal came moments after Jake Gardiner hit the post for Toronto, but Andersen was lucky earlier in the period when Reilly’s blast off the rush clanged off the crossbar and stayed out.
Andersen’s 37 wins coming into Saturday left him tied with Ed Belfour (2002-03) and Andrew Raycroft (2006-07) for the most by a Toronto goalie in a season.
The 2017-18 Leafs have set a number of records, including wins (49) and home wins (29).
Toronto’s previous franchise high for points in a season was the 103 earned back in 2003-04.
Canadiens: Season over.
Maple Leafs: first round of the playoffs.
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