Pacioretty's two goals lead Canadiens past Maple Leafs 4-1
Montreal Canadiens' Lars Eller shoots on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier during second period NHL hockey action in Montreal on February 27, 2016. (Graham Hughes / The Canadian Press)
Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, February 27, 2016 10:14PM EST
MONTREAL -- Captain Max Pacioretty scored twice to give the Canadiens a 4-1 victory over the Maple Leafs on Saturday, extending Montreal's win streak over Toronto to 10 games.
Alex Galchenyuk and Devante Smith-Pelly also scored for Montreal (30-27-5). Mike Condon had 31 saves to earn his 16th victory of the season.
Matt Hunwick scored the lone goal for the Maple Leafs (21-29-10), who are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. Jonathan Bernier stopped 31-of-35 shots in defeat.
Montreal has now won 10 straight versus the Leafs for the first time since 1958. Toronto's last win versus the Habs was Jan. 18, 2014.
With three wins in their last four games (3-0-1), the Canadiens are hoping to mount an improbable run to the playoffs. Montreal is currently five points out of the final wild-card spot in the East.
Pacioretty scored his first of the game at 6:23 of the third period, beating Bernier top shelf with a one-timer following a cross-ice pass from Andrei Markov to give Montreal a 3-1 lead.
The Canadiens captain added his second less than two minutes later, jumping on a loose puck in front of the net after Greg Pateryn's shot from the point took a big bounce off the end boards.
The multi-goal game was Pacioretty's first since Oct. 13, 2015.
Toronto's Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return. Parenteau also left the Leafs' practice on Friday after feeling sore.
Toronto also lost Byron Froese to injury after he blocked a P.K. Subban shot with his right hand in the second period.
The Maple Leafs got off to a fast start, with Hunwick beating Condon at 5:29 of the first period. Hunwick cashed in a big rebound after Condon made the pad save on Brendan Leipsic's initial shot.
The Leafs, who have scored first just 19 times in 60 games this season, have an NHL-worst 10 wins when scoring first.
Galchenyuk responded for Montreal less than two minutes after Hunwick's opener, beating Bernier with a precise shot from a tight angle.
Toronto head coach Mike Babcock challenged the play, claiming Lars Eller had interfered with Bernier, but the goal stood.
Galchenyuk now has five goals in his last seven games.
Smith-Pelly scored the game-winner with an easy tap-in at 10:39 of the second.
Centre Phillip Danault made his Canadiens debut and even took the game's opening faceoff.
Danault was acquired by Montreal on Friday in a trade that sent forwards Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Canadiens also received a second-round pick in the 2018 draft in that trade.
Earlier on Saturday, the Maple Leafs traded goalie James Reimer and forward Jeremy Morin to San Jose for forward Ben Smith, goaltender Alex Stalock and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft.
Notes: Montreal is 5-0-1 in its last six home games. ΓÇª The Leafs recalled goaltender Garret Sparks from the AHL's Toronto Marlies on Saturday. ΓÇª Michael McCarron and Morgan Ellis were recalled from the St. John's IceCaps on Friday.