Maple Leafs clinch playoff berth with win against Canadiens


MONTREAL — The Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a Stanley Cup Playoff berth with a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Wednesday.

Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 35th goal, and Jack Campbell made 31 saves for Toronto (31-13-5), which has won three in a row after losing its previous five. Morgan Rielly and Jason Spezza each had two assists.

The Maple Leafs are 5-2-0 against the Canadiens. It’s the first time they have won five games in a season against Montreal since 1966-67.

Nick Suzuki scored, and Jake Allen made 25 saves for Montreal (21-18-9), which has lost three of its past four games.

William Nylander scored a power-play goal on the first shot of the game to give the Maple Leafs a 1-0 at 1:38 of the first. He got inside position on Shea Weber and tapped in a centering pass from Mitchell Marner.

Matthews made it 2-0 at 8:44. Nick Foligno‘s initial pass hit the shin pad of Suzuki and deflected up into the air, and Matthews batted the puck down around Suzuki before shooting glove side on Allen off the far post.

Jake Muzzin extended the lead to 3-1 at 6:27 of the second period. Joe Thornton recorded his 1,100th assist on the play, becoming the seventh player in NHL history to reach that milestone.

Suzuki cut it to 3-1 at 15:15 when he drove the left side and scored his 10th goal on a wrist shot past Campbell blocker side.

Adam Brooks made it 4-1 at 8:15 of the third, shooting into an open net after Allen misplayed the puck along the boards. Spezza’s assist on the play was his 966th point, tying Maurice Richard for 99th in NHL history.

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