Entering this game, the home team had won 12 straight games in the Leafs vs. Habs rivalry.

Well, that’s over now.

With new players in the mix, Mitch Marner’s absence, and no real practice time to prepare, the Leafs were discombobulated at points. On the whole, they weren’t as sharp as you’d like, but they took care of business with a regulation win, giving them 82 points and counting on the season.

Your game in 10:

1.   The start of the game did not go according to plan for Toronto.

The Leafs began the game with their newly-formed top line sans Marner: Tyler BertuzziAuston MatthewsWilliam Nylander as well as the Morgan RiellyIlya Lyubushkin pairing. They attempted to tilt the ice and spent some time in the Habs’ zone, but when the puck went up Lyubushkin’s wall, he failed to keep it in. From there, he was strangely nonchalant going for the puck as it exited the zone, but he still got to it first only to cough it up through the middle of the ice. Lyubushkin needed to keep the puck in the offensive zone in the first place, but failing that, he can’t give it up through the middle.

Tyler Bertuzzi did Lybushkin no favours as an outlet and then botched the coverage. When Mike Matheson shot through the gap up the middle of the ice, instead of checking his shoulder and tying someone up on the backcheck, Bertuzzi drifted to the puck carrier — who was covered by Morgan Rielly — leaving Matheson wide open at the backdoor. Matheson produced a nice finish in all alone.

This was Ilya Samsonov’s first shot against in the game, which is about as brutal of a position a team could put its goalie in.

2.    The Leafs‘ bottom line strung together some good shifts afterward, but on a play where the Habs were gaining the center line to dump and change, Matthew Knies finished a hard check on Alex Newhook and the glass popped out of place. There was a six-plus minute delay as a result, which really sucked the wind out of the game. The Habs, already with a lead, seemed to benefit from it and stacked a few chances when play resumed — including a one-timer off the rush — but Samsonov settled in and stood tall.

As the period progressed, the Leafs started to take over. Playing on the third line tonight, Knies, in particular, was feasting on easier matchups and produced a few shifts where he took control of the play, including a good deflection in front. William Nylander made a really good net drive that he almost buried. Twice, Bertuzzi was not ready for pucks when Nylander and Matthews created opportunities.

The Leafs didn’t capitalize, but at the start of the second period, the broadcast noted that the Leafs doubled the Habs in offensive-zone possession time in the opening frame.

3.   In the first period, Sheldon Keefe started with the Auston Matthews line, who conceded an early goal. In the second period, he started the David Kampf unit with Bobby McMann and Matthew Knies, who rewarded their head coach with a goal.

After the Leafs won the puck back in the defensive zone, Kampf tried to hit McMann with a breakout pass up the middle. Arber Xhejai attempted to step up on the play, but McMann made a nice play to chip it by him, springing him and Knies on a clean 2v1 down the ice from center.

In the first period, McMann and Knies went on a similar 2v1 in the exact same situation. McMann was on his off-wing as the puck carrier, Savard was the defenseman, and Knies was on his strong side. On the first one, Savard went down to the ice and McMann was forced to try to backhand saucer it, but the pass was disrupted and nothing came of it. The second time, McMann looked up, saw it was Savard again, and anticipated him selling out to take the pass away, so he appeared to decide early on that he was shooting. McMann pulled back and ripped the goal clean.

McMann snapped a seven-game pointless streak with his 10th goal of the season.

4.   After tying the game, the Leafs generated some pressure but really didn’t create much of anything before the period turned a little choppy. Halfway through the period, the Habs took an offensive-zone penalty on a high stick, and the Leafs — without Marner — trotted out a top unit featuring John Tavares, Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Morgan Rielly.

Tavares lost the draw, the Habs dumped it down, and with Nylander-Matthews as the drop-pass puck carriers instead of Marner, the Leafs were out of sync. Matthews botched the handoff and entry, the Habs went down on a rush, and Rielly took a penalty.

The ensuing four-on-four play was the first time Matthews and Nylander really got going in the game as they produced a dominant shift that included a few chances.

A few minutes later, Bobby McMann took a penalty and we got our first look at the Leafs’ new penalty killers. Connor Dewar took a short but effective shift and Joel Edmundson was on the second unit. David Kampf started with Nylander in Marner’s absence. The Habs didn’t register a shot on net on the power play.

5.   In the dying minutes of the second period, the Leafs managed to grab the lead on what started as an innocent enough play. The Habs’ attempt to gain the zone and take it to the net was disrupted, and when the puck went up to Calle Jarnkrok around the faceoff dot, Max Domi shot out of a cannon up the middle.

It was hard to sort out if it was in fact Max’s voice, but on the broadcast, the second Jarnkrok grabbed the puck, you could hear someone on the ice yelling (I couldn’t make out what was said), and Jarnkrok seemed to know to flip it up the middle.  It was a perfect flip — high and far enough to get it out, but not too far or too bouncy that Domi couldn’t get to it.

We have seen this breakaway speed from Domi before. If daylight is in front of him, he is winning a race. We have also seen this breakaway move from Domi before where he pulls it to the left to his strong side and shoots it across the body to the right. He scored similarly on a breakaway in Vegas, although that one was a bit more pronounced given the angle. Long story short, Domi has been money when he gets chances in all alone, including 2/3 on shootout attempts this season.

This was a big goal to give the Leafs the lead heading into the third period. Before intermission, he received one more shift, and the Leafs were buzzing. In a big scrum at the buzzer, Tavares grappled with Savard and Domi assured Slafkovsky that he wouldn’t want a piece of him. If nothing else, it was highly entertaining.

6.   That scrum resulted in a Leafs power play to start the period, and this time — with Tavares in the box — the coaching staff sent Calle Jarnkrok out with the other four who started the last power play.

The subsequent shift highlighted the reality that the Leafs only really bank on their top players on the power play. They looked like complete strangers on the ice and it’s 60+ games into the season. It took them three tries to enter the zone, and once they gained the blue line, it was anyone’s guess as to what they were trying to accomplish. They didn’t record a shot on net in two minutes.

A few minutes later, an awful shift from Timothy Liljegren saw him not only throw a puck up the middle for a turnover and scoring chance but also take a penalty. This time, the Habs capitalized.

The PK started well as Nylander and Kampf did a good job, but when Connor Dewar and Jarnkrok hopped on, we saw the danger of throwing someone onto the penalty kill without any practice time.

Jake McCabe was super aggressive high up the wall, and when the puck was bumped to the slot, Dewar should have attacked. Instead, he went down on one knee to block the backdoor pass that TJ Brodie was already covering. Newhook recognized the time and space available and ripped one off the post and in.

It was a really bad read by Dewar, but it’s the understandable result of a brand-new player being thrust into a special-teams role.

7.   It took the Leafs over eight minutes to record a shot on net in the third period despite the two-minute power play we just mentioned. Once they put the first shot on goal, they started stringing together some good shifts. Bobby McMann, who fired said shot, later generated an excellent chance off the rush by driving the net, something he seems to do every game now.

When the fourth line manufactured a really good shift, a puck found Ryan Reaves in the slot all alone, but he wasn’t ready for it. Then, on a rather innocent play, the Leafs did something they really need to do a lot more of: throw a puck on net and drive the crease.

This was a bad goal off a simple rush play where Max Domi passed it across the ice to Jake McCabe, who put a rather innocent one-timer to the net (it even looked like he took a little off of it). Montembault was handcuffed by it, the puck deflected, and John Tavares forced it into the net.

It wasn’t a pretty goal, but the process was right (put pucks on net, go to the net), and for doing the right thing, the Leafs were rewarded with a game-winning goal.

8.   With the Leafs back in the lead again, Toronto fans wanted to see this game fade into the sunset, and it was looking like it would follow that script at one point. The fourth line, in particular, generated another great shift, spending nearly a minute on the cycle killing the clock, which is exactly what you want to see from the fourth line. But then Calle Jarnkrok took a penalty after Matheson walked around him with about three minutes left in the game, and the Leafs’ penalty kill needed to make a stand.

This time, they did. The Kampf-Nylander duo was once again excellent, and McCabe-Brodie were very good alongside them. Dewar, who went out with Holmberg (Jarnkrok was in the box), was much better this time around. They closed lanes and applied proper, coordinated pressure.

On one backdoor play, Edmundson almost scored on his own net, but if you generously called him smart for deflecting it to Samsonov rather than allowing the backdoor play, I could hear that argument.

Dewar was on the ice in the final minute of the game when it was a 6v5 — again, it’s exactly what they got him for — and he effectively closed lanes and put his body on the line. After Jarnkrok came out of the box with a big effort atoning for his mistake, the Leafs closed out a 3-2 win.

9.   The new additions (Connor Dewar and Joel Edmundson) were generally solid, although both had a few moments they’d like back as well.

Dewar played things poorly on the Habs power-play goal as discussed, but otherwise, he was effective. His speed is noticeable, and he laid a nice hit in open ice in the second period. His line worked the walls well in the offensive zone, and he closed the game for the team while playing 11:13 in total. We could see what management likes about the player. He will need to figure out the team’s PK system.

Edmundson was steamrolled (and shaken up) by Slafkovsky at one point along the boards in the third period, and the Habs almost scored on the shift. He also maybe — or maybe not — deflected a puck on Samsonov on purpose late in the game, forcing Samsonov into a big save. Otherwise, he was fairly solid.

As Justin Bourne affectionately describes it, Edmundson was an adult out there. He played 19:03 on the night and was generally responsible. It felt safe when he had the puck. His reach bails him out quite a bit; on one play, he was taken wide off the rush and almost stumbled at first, but his length allowed him to recover and cut off the net well. At 6’5, he’s definitely a presence out there.

10.   The Leafs ran four new lines tonight. It showed. They were not in sync for large stretches of the night.

The team’s best line was the Matthew KniesDavid KampfBobby McMann unit. Knies and McMann seemed to form some chemistry together, and Knies really made things happen lower down the lineup against third lines and third-pairing defensemen.

The Tyler BertuzziAuston MatthewsWilliam Nylander line was disappointing on the whole. Bertuzzi really struggled to capitalize on the time and space available against the Habs. In tight-checking games, Bertuzzi is effective at creating space, but when the space is readily available, it can be tough to watch. He doesn’t take advantage of it well or make the right reads (at one point, he shot it into shinpads with time and space off a Nylander drop pass).

The John Tavares line was Jekyll and Hyde, but they did score twice. The fourth line was generally solid.

On defense, the TJ BrodieJake McCabe pairing played the most — and rightfully so because they were the team’s best pairing. It’s a bottom-feeding Habs team, so we can’t read too much into it, but getting those two going together would be a massive development for the Leafs.

The other thing the Leafs need is for Timothy Liljegren to get his game back. His mistakes in the third leading to the Habs’ tying goal can’t happen. It was a bad giveaway and bad penalty, and Keefe was slow-burning on the bench after seeing it go down.

Ilya Lyubushkin played just 15:59 on the night, and for all the talk of his partnership with Morgan Rielly, it should be recognized that the coaching staff mixes and matches at times with Liljegren (who played 19:25, one second less than Rielly).

Game Flow: 5v5 Shot Attempts

Heat Map: 5v5 Shot Attempts

Joe Bowen & Jim Ralph Game Highlights