TORONTO - After Montreal's morning skate Wednesday, Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty said he wasn't interested in speaking of the alleged biting incident involving Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski in their previous meeting. He was more interested in focusing on the 8-1 goal differential in the two games prior, both Montreal losses at home to Toronto.
Bite or no bite, Pacioretty got his revenge Wednesday night as he scored twice in Montreal's 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.
With just over five minutes remaining in the third period, Pacioretty picked up his second goal of the night, beating Ben Scrivens short side for his sixth of the season.
"Just close your eyes and rip it. That's normally how it goes," said Pacioretty, who now has five goals in his last six games.
Added Brendan Gallagher: "Pretty impressive. I don't know how many guys in this league can do that."
The win improves Montreal to 7-0-2 since their embarrassing 6-0 home-ice loss to Toronto on Feb. 9. It was the Canadiens' first win over the Maple Leafs this season. Montreal is now 1-2-0 against Toronto.
The game wasn't without controversy though, in the third period, on the face-off, which led to Gallagher's game-winning goal, linesman Jean Morin dropped the puck before Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak had his stick down.
David Desharnais won the draw cleanly to Josh Gorges, whose point shot was redirected in by Gallagher.
"Obviously I thought he dropped it before I was ready," said Bozak whose line, which includes Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, finished minus-4 on the night. "He thought I was down and ready, obviously I didn't. It's his call there. It can go either way. It's a tie game in the third period so it magnifies it a little more than it normally would."
During his post-game scrum, Scrivens said that he didn't much care for Gallagher, who played on Montreal's top line with Pacioretty and Desharnais, driving hard to the net all night.
"That's his game, that's what he brings to their team," Scrivens, who made 35 saves in the loss said. "I don't particularly respect it, but he is a good player."
According to Gallagher, getting to the net and making life difficult for opponents is something that head coach Michel Therrien stresses every day.
"You just got to be in front of the net, that's where most of the goals are scored from," he said. "We talk about that every game and every practice. We got to get in there and make it tough on their 'D' and make it tough on their goalies - that's usually the way you're going to score goals."
Montreal (13-4-3) took a 2-1 lead early in the second after Mike Brown was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind on Josh Gorges late in the first period.
With just six seconds remaining on the man advantage, the rebound off a PK Subban shot re-directed off Pacioretty and past Scrivens.
With just over eight minutes remaining in the second period, the Maple Leafs had an excellent chance to pick up the equalizer when Mikhail Grabovski was hauled down on a partial break by Alexei Emelin.
Grabovski was awarded a penalty shot, but could not solve Price.
Toronto (12-9-0) tied the game 2-2 when Clarke MacArthur took a Nazem Kadri feed off his skate and put it past a sprawling Price for his fifth goal of the season.
Kadri now has four assists in his last three games.
Toronto opened the scoring in the first period on Frazer McLaren's second of the season. Montreal responded just over three minutes later as Emelin's point shot beat Scrivens.
Brian Gionta added an empty netter in the win.
Michael Ryder made his return to the Montreal line-up after being acquired by the Canadiens on Tuesday for Erik Cole. Ryder scored a hat trick in his last game against the Maple Leafs in a Canadiens jersey, but on Wednesday he finished minus-1 in 14:34 of ice time.
NOTES: Canadiens defenseman Thomas Kaberle was in the lineup for the first time since Feb. 2 replacing Raphael Diaz who missed the game with a concussion. ... Gallagher wore No. 11 for the first time Wednesday after allowing Ryder to take his old No. 73. ... Toronto is 2-0 this season against Montreal out-scoring the Canadiens 8-1 coming in to Wednesday's action. ... The clubs have two more meetings this season. ... Toronto activated James Reimer off injured reserve Wednesday. Reimer missed seven games with a knee injury. ... In a corresponding move, the Leafs assigned Jussi Rynnas to the Marlies of the AHL.