Leafs beat Habs, Frederik Andersen sets team record for wins

Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-2.

TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs know they’ve just completed the best statistical season in franchise history, and Frederik Andersen knows he now holds the team’s all-time record for goalie wins in a campaign.

What remains a mystery for the Leafs is their first-round playoff opponent.

Andersen made 31 saves to pick up his 38th victory of the season Saturday as Toronto closed out its schedule by defeating the Montreal Canadiens 4-2.

The Leafs finished with a club-record 105 points — bettering the 103 earned in the pre-lockout 2003-04 campaign before the shootout was introduced to break ties — but will have to wait until the Boston Bruins play the Florida Panthers on Sunday to see where they open their next playoff chapter.

A win for the Bruins over the Panthers, who have been eliminated from post-season contention, would see Boston move into first in the Atlantic Division and set up a meeting between Tampa Bay and Toronto.

A victory in regulation for the Panthers, meanwhile, would see the Leafs and Bruins square off.

Asked if he would be watching Sunday’s finale, a makeup game after Boston and Florida were snowed out in January, Andersen indicated he has other plans.

"No," said the Dane. "I’m going to watch the Masters."

Auston Matthews scored his 34th goal of the season to match his jersey number and added an assist Saturday for Toronto (49-26-7), which also set a club records for overall victories and home wins (29).

Zach Hyman, Nazem Kadri and Patrick Marleau had the other goals for the Leafs, who are going to the playoffs for the second consecutive spring. Jake Gardiner added two assists.

Andersen’s 37 victories coming in saw him sit tied with Ed Belfour (2002-03) and Andrew Raycroft (2006-07) for the most ever by a Toronto goalie in a season.

Now he sits alone in first.

"It’s fun when you set goals at the beginning of the year and then you achieve some of them," Andersen said. "It goes without saying that there are bigger goals."

Leafs head coach Mike Babcock was pleased to see his team come through for its goalie in a game that didn’t mean anything in the standings.

"He’s been a huge part of our team," Babcock said. "That record is a special, special thing."

Daniel Carr and Jeff Petry replied for Montreal (29-40-13). Carey Price stopped 26 shots for the visitors as the Canadiens wrapped up a disappointing season.

The players observed a moment of silence before the game to honour the victims of Friday’s horrific crash in Saskatchewan that saw a tractor-trailer collide with a bus carrying a junior hockey team, killing 15 people and injuring 14 others.

The head coach and team captain of the Humboldt Broncos, who play in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, are among the confirmed dead.

The Leafs and Canadiens also sported Broncos decals on their helmets.

Tied 1-1 through 40 minutes, Hyman chipped a rebound past Price just 37 seconds into the third for his 15th goal and 40th point of the season after Matthews took the initial shot.

Andersen made a good stop on a Brendan Gallagher one-timer with four minutes to go, before the Leafs went to the power play with 3:45 left when Michael McCarron hacked Matthews to the ice with the centre bearing down on what could have been his 35th goal.

But Kadri wouldn’t be denied with 2:50 left when he backhanded his 32nd over Price before Petry then scored his 12th with 40.2 seconds left in regulation.

Marleau put things to bed with his 27th on a Price mistake with 9.8 seconds still on the clock as the Canadiens limped over the finish line after topping the Atlantic with 103 points last season.

"We’re still playing the game we love," Gallagher said. "But the games haven’t been meaningful.

"Just never want to feel this (way) or go through this ever again."

Down 1-0 after Matthews extended his point streak to 10 games — he now has seven goals and seven assists over that span — late in the first, the Canadiens came close when Andersen denied Gallagher twice on a power play in the second.

"He’s been unbelievable for us, probably our best player all year," Matthews said the Leafs goalie. "He’s kept us in games, won us games all throughout the year and been a brick wall."

Montreal would eventually get even with 3:56 left in the second when Carr scored his sixth on a rebound.

Matthews struck on the power play with 1:55 left in the first when William Nylander wheeled down from the point, froze Price and delivered a sweet cross-ice feed for a wide-open net to get the ball rolling on a milestone night.

Now all the Leafs can do is sit and wait to find out where they’ll open the playoffs next week as the Atlantic’s No. 3 seed — either Boston or Tampa.

"We don’t know who we’re playing," Babcock said. "Both teams are very good hockey clubs.

"We’re in for a great test and it should be a lot of fun."

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