2021 Stanley Cup playoffs: Maple Leafs dominate Canadiens to even up series
Photo: Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs have evened their North Division series in the Stanley Cup playoffs with the Montreal Canadiens at one game apiece with a 5-1 victory in Game 2 at Scotiabank Arena.

Five different Toronto players scored as the Maple Leafs were playing their first game without John Tavares, who is expected to be out a couple of weeks after suffering a concussion in the opening game of the series.

Story of the game

The first four minutes started out pretty slowly, but the new-look Toronto second line generates a couple strong chances off of a rebound that they can't convert on. Montreal then nearly got a chance of their own, but  good defensive work from William Nylander erases it.

Carey Price then saved a point shot by T.J. Brodie, but he left a rebound, which Auston Matthews almost scores off of. Eight minutes into the game, Montreal took the lead. 

After a cycle, a point shot resulted in the Maple Leafs being disorganized as Jake Muzzin overskated the puck afrer a strong Canadiens forecheck. Jesperi Kotkaniemi puts it past Jack Campbell, who was sent diving. 

Alex Kerfoot then helped to establish a cycle, getting some luck as a rim around from Arturri Lekhonen hits the ref. Zach Bogosian centers to an oncoming Jason Spezza, who beats Price to tie the game at 1-1.

Soon after, Bogosian gained the zone and shoveling it towards the net where a tip by Ilya Mikheyev missed the net. On the next shift, Joe Thornton blows a tire in the defensive zone, leading to a point shot by Montreal, which gets deflected on the way in, and sits there for Lehkonen, but Campbell covered up.

With 3:30 to play in the period, Zach Hyman was called for holding on Phillip Danault, but the Canadiens could do nothing with it and after that, the rest of the period goes by with the score remaining 1-1.

At the start of the second period, Montreal had a three-on-two as Tomas Tatar passes to Brendan Gallagher, but his shot is wide. Five minutes in, Toronto takes the lead as Matthews gains the zone on a rush with Justin Holl, who shoots for the rebound for Matthews pokes it home to make it 2-1.

Auston Matthews scores his first goal of the series in the second period of Game 2/Photo: Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

Shortly thereafter, Gallagher was called for high-sticking and although they had solid entries and chances, especially from the second unit, they couldn't score. As the power play expires, a scramble in front leads Lehkonen to take a slashing penalty, but again Toronto fails to capitalize.

Not more than two minutes later, Kotkaniemi cross-checks Morgan Rielly. This time, the Maple Leafs power play does convert as they gain get the zone and Rasmus Sundin walks into a one-timer which gets by Price to make it 3-1 Toronto,

With three minutes remaining in the period, Tatar gets a great chance off of a pass by Jeff Petry, but he misses the net. A few shifts later, Rielly, Pierre Engvall, and Mikheyev are on a three-on-two as Rielly finds Engvall in the slot, but Price saves it well.

The first six minutes of the period were very quiet until Engvall has a gets in on the forecheck, wins the puck back and draws a cross-checking penalty from Shea Weber. The power play again converts as a Matthews one-timer goes off the post, re-directing to Nylander, who picks his spot in the top corner to extend the advantage to 4-1.

With about six and a half minutes to go, the Montreal pulls Price when in the offensive zone. Toronto misses the empty net five times before Kerfoot is finally able to put one away to close out the scoring and even the series.