Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored at 15:15 of overtime and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 to force Game 7 in the first-round series
MONTREAL — Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored at 15:15 of overtime and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Saturday night to force Game 7 in the first-round series.
Corey Perry and Tyler Toffoli also scored and Carey Price made 41 saves in front of the first Canadian hockey crowd since the start of the pandemic.
With his team outshot 13-2 and struggling to generate anything in the extra period, Kotkaniemi ripped a shot past goalie Jack Campbell’s glove side after Toronto defenseman Travis Dermott turned the puck over to Paul Byron.
Jason Spezza and T.J. Brodie scored for Toronto, beating Price with under 10 minutes to go in regulation to tie it. Campbell stopped 28 shots.
Game 7 is Monday night in Toronto, with the winner facing Winnipeg. Also an overtime winner in Game 5 in Toronto, the Canadiens are looking to come back from a 3-1 series deficit to win for the third time in franchise history.
About 2,500 fans were allowed in the 21,302-seat arena after the Quebec government relaxed some restrictions and the province’s curfew ended Friday.
Perry opened the scoring at 5:26 of the third period on a scramble in front with Toronto’s William Nylander off for goalie interference.
Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe’s challenge was denied, putting the Maple Leafs back down a man. Mitch Marner then fired a clearing attempt over the glass to gift the home side a 5-on-3 power play for 1:41.
And the Canadiens made the Maple Leafs pay when Toffoli squeezed a shot past Campbell at 6:43 to stretch the lead to 2-0.
Spezza cut it to one with 8:25 left when his shot went in off the stick of Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry. Brodie tied it off Petry’s skate with 3:11 left.