The Maple Leafs are back to winning ways, and their win streak against the Canadiens is at five games.
That’s more than enough for Toronto to secure home ice for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round series.
The Leafs, who are just one win away from their first Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history, held the puck well against the Capitals, outshooting them 37-21 in the process.
“The good news is we’re still playing good hockey, which is a testament to our guys, that we’re playing well,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said.
“I think we’ve got a good group of guys.
I’m really proud of our group, but I’m proud of the way we’re doing it.
I know we’ve had some rough patches and we’ve battled through it, but the way the team has responded to adversity has been phenomenal.
The guys are getting the puck on net and playing hard.”
The Leafs, the NHL’s top-scoring team with 37 points, are coming off a 5-3 victory against Boston on Thursday.
Ryan Rupert had five assists for the Leafs, whose defense has been one of the league’s most dominant in recent weeks.
They had five power-play goals, but didn’t have much of an advantage with the man advantage.
They’re a perfect 5-0 when they get the puck back, and have the second-best power play in the league with 16.9 percent.
The Capitals, meanwhile, have won five of six.
Babcock said he thought he had the edge heading into the game.
“I knew we’d play a good game,” Babcock told reporters after the game, “but I thought it was a bit of a mismatch of their team that we had.
And we’ve been good.
We’ve been effective, but not good enough.”
For the Canadiens, it’s been another win for Carey Price.
He’s had a tough season, posting just one goal and five assists through six games.
Price has seven points in his last seven games, and is shooting .933 with two goals and six assists in eight playoff games.
He also has four assists in the playoffs.
Plekanec’s hat trick was his sixth of the postseason.
The Canadiens are coming into this series with a 3-3-1 record in the postseason, but they’re not out of it.
Montreal has a chance to win this series, but it won’t be easy.
After getting blown out 4-1 in Game 1 of the series, the Canadiens will need to get their act together for Game 7.
With the Capitals up 3-1, the Leafs have their best chance to put their season on ice.
Alexei Emelin is in the midst of a strong postseason, averaging 24:34 of ice time per game.
Emelin has scored five goals and 12 points in the last four games, while adding five assists.
He has also helped Montreal’s defense in the series.
With two of their three playoff games against playoff teams on the road, the Habs need to do more.
NHL playoff hockey schedule: