MONTREAL (AP) John Tavares broke a tie with 6:46 left with his 20th goal of the season and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Saturday night.

Jake McCabe’s one-timer hit goalie Sam Montembeault’s pad and deflected off Tavares in front of the net. The Toronto captain has scored 20 or more goals in 14 of his 15 NHL seasons.

“Any time we play Montreal it’s always really special between these two clubs and what’s been going on for over 100 years,” Tavares said. “I think as players you sense that and feel that.”

Max Domi and Bobby McMann also scored and Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves. Toronto rebounded from a 4-1 loss in Boston on Thursday night to improve to 37-19-8.

“Some great moments of really good goals at key times,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Otherwise, we just stayed with it. Thought we got some saves from Sammy, battled real hard.”

The Maple Leafs played without Mitch Marner for the first time this season after the star forward sustained a lower-body injury in Boston.

Mike Matheson had a goal and assist for Montreal. Alex Newhook also scored and Montembeault stopped 24 shots. The Canadiens have lost four of five to fall to 24-30-10.

“They’re a great team over there with a lot of superstar power and I thought we were solid against it all night,” Matheson said. “The competitor in me is still frustrated to play that well against a team like that and not come away with a win.”

Defenseman Joel Edmundson - who played three seasons for the Canadiens from 2020 to 2023 - and forward Connor Deward made their Maple Leafs debuts after being acquired before the trade deadline.

The Canadiens tied it a 2 at 5:05 of the third period on Newhook's power-play goal. He beat Samsonov with a wrist shot that went off the post and in.

Toronto forward Calle Jarnkrok took a tripping penalty with three minutes left to send Montreal on the power play. The Canadiens also pulled the goalie for an extra attacker with two minutes left, but didn’t generate much despite some sustained time in the Maple Leafs zone.


Maple Leafs: At Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Canadiens: Host Columbus on Tuesday night.



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