Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2 (OT)
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario
Auston Matthews scored his second goal of the game 1:01 into overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory against the Montréal Canadiens at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday in the season opener for each team.
“It was a perfect pass, I thought. (Marleau) had me there, and I was able to just get it over (Price),” Matthews said. “He made a lot of diving saves where he got his leg out when it looks like it’s going to go in the back of the net, so that’s why he was one of the best goalies. It was just a great pass from (Marleau).”
John Tavares, who signed a seven-year, $77 million contract with the Maple Leafs as an unrestricted free agent July 1, scored in his Toronto debut. Frederik Andersen made 34 saves for the Maple Leafs.
“I don’t think we played our best, I don’t think we played in their zone enough or as much as we’d like to, but they competed and skated well and put some pressure on us,” Tavares said. “It seemed like we were fighting the puck a bit. We just have to be a little bit more sure of ourselves.”
Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said the game showed there is plenty of room for improvement.
“We won the game, but (the Canadiens) worked way harder and played way better than we did tonight,” Babcock said. “(The media) can write all they want and tell everybody how great we all are, but it’s the National Hockey League, and you have to come to work every day. If you don’t work harder than the other team, if you don’t put your work before your talent, you don’t win, so there’s probably lots of good messages tonight.”
Artturi Lehkonen and Andrew Shaw scored for Montréal. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, the number three pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, had an assist in his NHL debut for the Canadiens, and Price made 23 saves.
“It was huge, especially coming in against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have a stacked lineup, a lot of skill, a lot of speed,” Shaw said. “We knew we needed to come out here and work hard. I think the boys are a little disappointed with what happened and how we lost, but we worked hard, we competed, we were in the game the entire time.”
Tavares gave the Maple Leafs a 2-1 lead at 18:07 of the second period when he cut into the slot and shot past Price’s blocker.
“(Josh) Leivo went to the net, and I was able to create some space for myself,” Tavares said. “I was happy to capitalize and put the team ahead at that point.”
Matthews said he was happy Tavares got his first goal with the Maple Leafs out of the way quickly.
“I’m sure it’s a big sigh of relief for him to kind of get the monkey off the back and just go play now,” Matthews said. “I can’t imagine what he’s gone through the past three or four months and all the hype leading up to his first game.”
The Canadiens tied it 2-2 with 14 seconds left in the period when Shaw one-timed a pass from Max Domi in the slot on the power play.
Montréal took a 1-0 lead at 9:34 of the first period when Lehkonen banked a shot off Andersen from behind the net.
Matthews tied it 1-1 on the power play at 12:57 when he put a wrist shot over Price’s glove from the left face-off dot.
Domi had two assists in his Canadiens debut. He was acquired in a trade from the Arizona Coyotes on June 15.
NOTES: Matthews has nine points (seven goals, two assists) in three NHL season openers…Matthews (2016) and Tavares (2009) became the first number one NHL Draft picks to score in the same game for the Maple Leafs since Mats Sundin (1989) and Eric Lindros (1991) on November 17, 2005, against the Boston Bruins…Canadiens defenceman Karl Alzner was a healthy scratch, ending his streak of 622 consecutive games played. It was the fourth longest active streak in the NHL.
Story property of NHL.com, photo property of 680 News
MTL GOAL – 09:34 – Lehkonen (Domi, Byron)
MTL PEN – 11:02 – Drouin, hooking
TOR PP GOAL – 12:57 – Matthews (Rielly, Kadri)
MTL PEN – 03:36 – Lehkonen, tripping
MTL PEN – 07:44 – Domi, tripping
TOR PEN – 08:47 – team, too many men on the ice
TOR GOAL – 18:07 – Tavares (Kadri, Dermott)
TOR PEN – 18:23 – Hyman, holding
MTL PP GOAL – 19:46 – Shaw (Domi, Kotkaniemi)
TOR PEN – 19:57 – Ozhiganov, hooking
TOR PEN – 06:00 – Hainsey, interference
TOR GOAL – 01:01 – Matthews (Marleau, Gardiner)
TOR – Andersen (W, 34-36)
MTL – Price (OTL, 23-26)
SHOTS ON GOAL
TOR – 9+9+7+1 = 26
MTL – 9+12+15+0 = 36
TOR – Goaltenders: Frederik Andersen, Garret Sparks. Defence: Travis Dermott, Jake Gardiner, Ron Hainsey, Igor Ozhiganov, Morgan Rielly (A), Nikita Zaitsev. Forwards: Connor Brown, Tyler Ennis, Zach Hyman, Andreas Johnsson, Nazem Kadri, Kasperi Kapanen, Josh Leivo, Par Lindholm, Patrick Marleau (A), Mitchell Marner, Auston Matthews, John Tavares (A).
MTL – Goaltenders: Antti Niemi, Carey Price. Defence: Jordie Benn, Noah Juulsen, Victor Mete, Xavier Ouellet, Jeff Petry (A), Mike Reilly. Forwards: Joel Armia, Paul Byron (A), Phillip Danault, Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin, Brendan Gallagher (A), Charles Hudon, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Artturi Lehkonen, Matthew Peca, Andrew Shaw, Tomas Tatar.
TOR – 1-0-0 (1.000)
MTL – 0-0-1 (.500)
⭐ Auston Matthews (TOR)
⭐⭐ Frederik Andersen (TOR)
⭐⭐⭐ John Tavares (TOR)