That kind of night: Toronto’s Nik Antropov splatters Canadiens’ Josh Gorges along the glass.
Bruce Bennett, Getty Images Sport
TORONTO – Guy Carbonneau didn’t hold back when he was asked about the Canadiens’ 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight.
“It was the most embarrassing game I’ve ever been associated with,” said the coach whose team has back-to-back games for the first time this season.
There was plenty of room for embarrassment here.
• The Canadiens, who were playing without defenceman Roman Hamrlik, were outshot, 41-20.
• The Leafs scored three of their six goals on the power play. The Canadiens were shorthanded eight times in this game and have faced 38 power plays in the last five games.
• Montreal was upstaged by castoff Mikhail Grabovski, who scored a goal, added an assist and won a key faceoff which led to a goal.
But Saku Koivu said this game wasn’t about Grabovski, who was traded to the Leafs in July for a prospect and a draft pick.
“We know he has skills but this game wasn’t about him, it was about the way we’re playing,” said Koivu.
“I think for the first 10, 11 games, I don’t know if it’s human nature that, when you win, you kind of forget about your mistakes. But I don’t think we’ve played as well for the last four or five games. We’re fortunate to have the points we have and now we have to get back to playing a team game with defence first.”
That might be difficult if Hamrlik’s injury is serious. He was hurt Friday night in Columbus but finished the game. He was scratched after the pregame warmup tonight.
The defence was found lacking tonight. While the Canadiens kept the score close for most of the first two periods, the Leafs had the better of the play.
The Canadiens’ found themselves back on their heels after Tom Kostopoulos shoved Mike Van Ryn into the end boards at 7:06 of the first period.
Kostopoulos was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct for attempt to injure and he’ll face the possibility of additional discipline from the league. A suspension seems possible, especially since Van Ryn suffered extensive injuries which will keep out for at least a month. He has a concussion, a broken nose and a broken finger.
“Those are the kind of hits we talk about all the time,” said Toronto coach Ron Wilson. He said there will be those who claim Van Ryn left himself vulnerable on the play but said the players delivering hits from behind have a responsibility to let up.
But Kostopoulos said he hoped that Van Ryn didn’t think it was a dirty hit.
“I was just trying to get the puck,” said Kostopoulos.
Niklas Hagman scored the first of his two goals during the five-minute major. Grabovski set the play up after going around Andrei Markov.
Grabovski made it 2-0 early in the second period and helped set up the go-ahead goal after Robert Lang and Tomas Plekanec scored power-play goals.
You won’t see Grabovski’s name on the scoresheet for Hagman’s second goal but he won the faceoff to get the play rolling.
The Canadiens tied the score a second time when Koivu fired over a diving Carlo Colaiacovo and beat Vesa Toskala to the far top corner.
But Nik Antropov took over as he scored before the second period and then assisted on insurance goals by Pavel Kubina and Alex Ponikarovsky in the third period.
Carey Price gave up six goals on 41 shots but Toronto coach Wilson said the count would have been much higher if Price hadn’t played an outstanding game.
The Canadiens will be back home Tuesday night to face the Ottawa Senators for the first time this season. They are in Boston Thursday and then play back-to-back on the weekend against Philadelphia Saturday and in St. Louis Sunday.