The 15th in the spotlight at the Bell Center, Saturday


MONTREAL – Do you believe in numerology? The number 15 who scores at 3:15 in overtime, with an usage time of 15 minutes, in his 15th playoff game. Add to that that Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored after 15 face-offs and using the 15th shot in overtime. It’s just that 13 of those throws were made by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Number 31 had the biggest say in the Montreal Canadiens’ second straight overtime win on Saturday. Carey Price double-locked the Maple Leafs in overtime, turning away 13 shots.

“Without him, we wouldn’t be here,” Kotkaniemi said. “He saved my ass a few times tonight and I’m grateful to him. It transports the team with its stops. It has quite an effect on the group. « 

As the veteran striker pointed out Tyler toffoli, a team can be dominant in overtime and still lose the game.

“It’s hockey. You only need one shot to win, he noted. Would we have wanted to spend all the time in Maple Leafs territory? Yes. But it happened like that. We found a way to win. That’s what good teams do.

« Now it passes or it breaks (do or die), ”Continued Toffoli, referring to the final meeting which will take place at the Scotiabank Arena on Monday. “We will have to be ready for a strong replica from the Maple Leafs. « 

Returning to Kotkaniemi, interim coach Dominique Ducharme said he was happy for him, who has scored a third goal in five games since being included in the squad.

“I like the way he plays,” he said. I felt he needed a good week of training before the playoffs started. He understood the situation, rolled up his sleeves and focused on what he could have in control. I am glad to see his efforts paid off.  »

Ducharme has used his first four defenders profusely in the last two encounters. The playmaker, Shea weber, spent 37:09 minutes in the thick of the action on Saturday. Ben Chariot spent 35:22 minutes on the ice, Jeff petry 34:51 and Joel edmundson 28:38.

He admitted to stretching the elastic with them, “but do I really have a choice,” as he pointed out? Canadians are being pushed to the wall.

“Could we do it for seven games in a row, or even in the regular season? Maybe not. But if you look the other way, could the Maple Leafs use their star forwards so much? Auston matthews and Mitch Marner? We manage each game differently. We’ll see how Game 7 goes and make adjustments as it unfolds. « 

In videoconference, Weber joked to reporters to hurry because he was anxious to get home to recover his strength.

“Fatigue is more physical than mental because you are so involved in the match,” he said. You don’t think about fatigue. You feel it first physically.  »

After the third game of the series, which the CH had lost 2-1 at the Bell Center to fall back 2-1 in the series, Price had made a profession of faith in the place of his teammates who were struggling to register goals. In the next game, the Canadiens were shut out 4-0.

Video: TOR @ MTL, # 6: Kotkaniemi forces the ultimate match

Two games later, the Habs are tied 3-3 in the series, one victory behind the Winnipeg Jets in the second round.

Ducharme said Price’s statement had a positive impact on the team.

« The guys definitely took note of it, » Ducharme said. Carey is quiet, he doesn’t speak for nothing. He likes to have fun with guys. He’s a gang guy, but he’s not the most vocal. When he says something, it’s thoughtful and it has an impact, especially coming from a goalie of his caliber who plays his best.  »

In any case, Price doesn’t need to say anything to be in the minds of the Maple Leafs players now.



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