Kovalchuk, Canadiens rally for OT win against Campbell, Maple Leafs
Ilya Kovalchuk scored at 1:43 of overtime, and the Montreal Canadiens rallied for a 2-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Bell Centre on Saturday.
Kovalchuk scored on a rebound after Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell (28 saves) made the initial save on Nick Suzuki’s backhand shot.
Marco Scandella tied the game with 2:33 left in the third period, and Carey Price made 22 saves for Montreal (27-23-7), which has won three in a row. The Canadiens are 9-3-0 since going eight straight without a win (0-7-1).
“I think right now, of course we’ve got to rely on ourselves, but we’ve got to be aware of what’s going on around the League because every game, every team, it’s so close right now,” Kovalchuk said. “And we just believe in ourselves. We battled through some injuries, some flu and everything, and I think it’s just going to make us stronger.”
Campbell made 26 saves in his Maple Leafs debut Friday, a 5-4 overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks, two days after he and forward Kyle Clifford were acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings.
He lost his shutout Saturday when Scandella scored on a slap shot from the left point to tie it 1-1.
“I’m just definitely not happy, giving that one up, you know, to give them life again and blow that lead and in the third,” Campbell said. “I just know my ability and I’m confident with my team in front of me, and they battled all night, so one more save and we get two points.”
They said it
“I thought we played a good game and a hard game. I thought we competed. What happens in the third period today is a lot different than what happens [Friday]. [Friday] we’re not engaged, we’re not competitive or physical enough and on our heels. This game here, I thought we defended very well, defended very hard and didn’t give up the middle of the ice much at all. We just were very poor with the puck. When you have a team that’s pushing, they have the energy of the crowd and you just continuously give them the puck, you’re going to be on your heels a lot.” — Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe
“The last two years, almost every practice, we were staying after practice doing shootouts, a lot of shots, one-timers, so he knew me pretty well. I think he played unbelievable. That’s a great pick up by the Leafs. He’s one of the hardest working guys I’ve ever seen and he’s a great competitor, so I wish him all the best.” — Canadiens forward Ilya Kovalchuk on Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell, his former teammate with the Los Angeles Kings
Need to know
Tavares has seven points (five goals, two assists) during his four-game streak. … Maple Leafs forward William Nylander missed his second straight game because of an illness. … . It was Kovalchuk’s 17th overtime goal, which moved him into third on the NHL all-time list behind Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (23) and Jaromir Jagr (19). … Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin had one shot and three hits in 11:49 of ice time in his first game since Nov. 15; he missed 37 games after having wrist surgery. Montreal is 12-5-3 this season with Drouin and 15-18-4 without him.
Maple Leafs: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TSN4, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV)
Canadiens: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Monday (7 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV)