NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Toronto
(Thursday, October 7th)
Final Score: Toronto 3, Montreal 2
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Clarke MacArthur scored the game-winner early in the third as the Toronto Maple Leafs took a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in the season opener for both squads.
Tim Brent and Phil Kessel each scored a goal for the Maple Leafs, who finished last in the Eastern Conference with 74 points last season and missed the playoffs for a franchise-record fifth straight season.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 26 shots for Toronto, which improved to 43-32-15-3 in home openers and 35-41-14-3 in season openers.
"I felt pretty good and was seeing the puck well out there," said Giguere. "We knew they were gonna come out hard in the third. In all, it was a good game by both teams and a nice way to start the season."
Jeff Halpern and Dustin Boyd each had a goal for the Canadiens, who made it to the Eastern Conference finals last season, but fell to the Philadelphia Flyers. Carey Price stopped 21 shots in the loss.
"He made the saves he needed to and made two big saves on me there at the end of the game," said Montreal forward Brian Gionta about Giguere. "We played a hard game out there, but of course we wanted to come away with the win."
The Maple Leafs got the first goal of the game at the 6:42 mark of the first period when Dion Phaneuf threw a quick shot on net from the left boards that Brent redirected past Price.
A bit over two minutes later, Toronto took a 2-0 lead when Kessel took a pass near the right blueline, skated in alone and went backhand to forehand to get the puck past Price.
Montreal, though, got one back at the 12:19 mark of the first. Boyd got the puck behind the net and attempted a wraparound from the right side before his second attempt slid past Giguere.
The Habs controlled the middle period, skating on three power plays and outshooting Toronto, 10-5, but the Maple Leafs maintained their one-goal lead after 40 minutes of play.
Just 96 seconds into the final stanza the Leafs grabbed a 3-1 lead. MacArthur took a pass along the left boards, went to the backhand to get past Jaroslav Spacek then lifted a backhander past Price.
Montreal, though, answered less than a minute later when Halpern, from the low left side, put the puck on net during a jam in front that saw the disc hit off the left post, redirect off the skate of a Leaf and slide past Giguere.
The Habs continued to apply pressure to get the equalizer, but Giguere stood tall and made several saves in the waning moments for the win.
Last season, each team won three times with five of the six games going to overtime or a shootout. Toronto gained nine points in those meetings while Montreal garnered eight points...Montreal forward Mike Cammalleri sat out the game due to a one-game suspension for slashing Islander Nino Niederreiter in a preseason game...Montreal plays at Pittsburgh on Saturday...Toronto hosts Ottawa on Saturday...Neither team scored on the power play as Montreal had three chances and Toronto five.
10/07 23:21:32 ET