Kaberle stays hot with three-point game as Leafs beat Habs 5-1

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Defence partner Bryan McCabe had two goals of his own while Matt Stajan and Nik Antropov also scored for the Leafs (11-5-3), who won their fourth straight and second in three meetings with the Habs this season.

Unlike the first two games between the two teams, this one didn't need a shootout and wasn't nearly as entertaining. It was over after 40 minutes, the Leafs scoring three times in the second period to go up 4-1 thanks in large part to five minor penalties called against the Canadiens.

Captain Saku Koivu scored for Montreal (8-4-3), who looked lethargic in its first game since Tuesday. The Habs also didn't have a morning skate due to a 2 p.m. AHL game at the Air Canada Centre.

Kaberle's three points gave him the NHL lead in defencemen scoring with 17 points (7-9) in 19 games, two more than superstar Chris Pronger in Anaheim. Kaberle has points in eight straight games, a remarkable 15 to be exact.

J.S. Aubin stopped 25 shots to record his second consecutive win against Montreal.

McCabe opened the scoring 11:21 into the first period with the Leafs on a 5-on-3 power play, blasting a one-timer that beat David Aebischer top corner.

Koivu tied it at 14:34 on the prettiest goal of the night, finishing off a tic-tac-toe play after a nice feed from rookie Guillaume Latendresse, a goal that drew cheers from the hundreds of Habs fans among the crowd of 19,501.

Stajan poked in a rebound just as a Montreal penalty ended to give Toronto a 2-1 lead 9:27 into the second period. Kaberle's power-play rocket beat Aebischer to make it 3-1 at 13:39 and Antropov surprised the Montreal goalie with a wrist shot just inside the blue-line. That was it for Aebischer, who got the hook in favour of Cristobal Huet.

McCabe beat Huet with another monster shot on yet another Toronto power play with just over five minutes to go.

Montreal took eight penalties to Toronto's three, including a pair of delay of game calls for flipping the puck over the glass.

The Leafs lost centre Michael Peca in the second period. He didn't return after suffering a cut to the face and bleeding profusely en route to the dressing room.

Notes: This year's Hockey Hall of Fame inductees, Patrick Roy, Dick Duff and Harley Hotchkiss, were honoured before the game. The late Herb Brooks, also going into the Hall on Monday, was represented by his son Dan Brooks ... Both teams are banged up right now, the Habs missing star winger Chris Higgins (ankle, out five weeks) and defencemen Mathieu Dandenault (hamstring, could be back next week) and Francis Bouillon (knee, possible December return). The Leafs were missing starting goalie Andrew Raycroft (groin, may return Thursday), captain Mats Sundin (elbow, 3-4 weeks), and defencemen Staffan Kronwall (ankle, day to day) and Andy Wozniewski (shoulder, three months). Defenceman Pavel Kubina is at home in the Czech Republic with his wife and newborn baby ... Montreal plays at Ottawa on Monday before going to Florida to face the Lightning on Wednesday and the Panthers on Thursday ... The Leafs are off until Thursday's game at Boston.