Toffoli tallies twice as Canadiens salvage series finale against Flames

Tyler Toffoli scored the game-winner for the Montreal Canadiens in a 2-1 victory Monday over the host Calgary Flames.

Toffoli scored late in the second period for his fourth goal in as many games and his team-leading 25th of the season.

Shea Weber also scored for the Canadiens (21-17-9).

Montreal opened up a six-point gap on Calgary, which is chasing the Canadiens for the fourth and final playoff berth in the NHL’s North Division.

Canadiens starter Jake Allen made 21 saves for the win.

Elias Lindholm replied for Calgary (21-24-3). Jacob Markstrom had 22 saves in the loss.

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The Flames beat Montreal in back-to-back games to start the three-games-in-four-days series, but needed six points in regulation to put pressure on the Canadiens in the playoff race.

Montreal has a game in hand on Calgary. The Canadiens’ schedule down the stretch is tough with seven of their last nine games against teams ranked higher in the division.

Three of Calgary’s last eight are versus higher-ranked clubs. The Flames finish with four straight games against the Vancouver Canucks.

Calgary took the nine-game season series against the Canadiens 6-3, but losing the finale means the Flames will likely need to win out and hope the Habs lose a lot of games to end their season.

The Flames didn’t score on a man advantage to start the third period, nor did they on another power play at the midway point. Both teams scored once on three power-play chances.

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Calgary captain Mark Giordano’s shot went off the inside post, but the puck stayed out early in the third.

Montreal led 2-1 on Toffoli’s goal at 18:05 of the second period.

Joel Armia caged the rebound on Toffoli’s initial shot to send it back for Toffoli to score on a second attempt while Markstrom was tangled with teammate Chris Tanev.

Calgary drew even 1-1 at with a power-play goal at 12:17 of the first period. Lindholm corralled Johnny Gaudreau’s pass through the slot and beat Allen with a sharp-angled wrist shot.

With Calgary’s Derek Ryan and Mark Giordano both serving minors, Montreal scored a 5-on-3 goal at 9:59. Weber put a rising slapshot over Markstrom’s glove.

Canadiens right-winger Cole Caulfield made his NHL debut Monday. Montreal drafted him in the first round (15th overall) in 2019.

Caulfield won this year’s Hobey Baker Award as the top player in men’s NCAA hockey.

The Flames announced before the game that defenceman Noah Hanifin is out for the season with a season-ending shoulder injury requiring surgery. Nikita Nesterov drew into the lineup.

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