It’s so fun when hockey’s back. It’s not so fun when your team gives up a go-ahead goal with under a minute to play. Alas, here we are, with the Toronto Maple Leafs dropping their home and season opener to the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 4-3.
Despite a really strong, really impressive start from the Leafs, it was the Canadiens that got on the board first. Beating Dion Phaneuf cleanly to the outside, Max Pacioretty took the puck deep down the boards, cut towards the net, and slid a softie right under Jonathan Bernier.
You’d think that the fact that was Montreal’s first shot on goal would be the story of the period, but a couple young Leafs in their first NHL games turned in some excellent frames to help Toronto finish the first up 2-1.
First, Brandon Kozun turned a great shift into an equally great scoring chance, with Nazem Kadri getting his stick on the puck and deflecting it over Carey Price’s glove hand.
Tomas Plekanec would score the lone second period goal, and P.K. Subban would put another behind Bernier to put Montreal ahead 3-2 about halfway through the third period.
I’m giving it to Percy. Paired with Roman Polak in his first NHL game, Percy earned one assist, played over 20 minutes, and found himself on both the power play and penalty kill.
He’s far from the biggest or strongest guy on the ice, but Percy has a good amount of skill and is very, very intelligent. If tonight is any indication of what we can expect from Percy, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he sticks in the NHL even after Cody Franson comes off the IR.
- Montreal outshot Toronto 32-27 and Bernier finished the game with an .875 SV%. The first goal against was a softie, but all in all Bernier had a decent game.
- Peter Holland had a quiet night, but still lead the Leafs with a 20.54 Corsi Rel%.
- David Clarkson was second with 16.76 Corsi Rel%, and was a permanent fixture on the Leafs’ second powerplay unit with Kadri and Joffrey Lupul.
- Sportsnet’s Sky Cam was fun, its Ref Cam was pretty alright, and its POV Cam was downright creepy. I legitimately felt like I was invading Leo Komarov’s personal space.
See You On Saturday
The Leafs are back in action this Saturday, facing off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:00pm. Watch it on CBC.