Morgan Rielly hit the target at 3:24 of extra period and the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 on Wednesday in the opening game for both teams.
Rielly ended an opportunity-rich overtime, taking advantage of a pass from John Tavares in a two-on-one attack.
Most of the Canadiens’ new faces looked good during the meeting, despite the loss.
Josh Anderson scored twice, while Alexander Romanov had a superb pass on Tomas Tatar’s goal. Tyler Toffoli generated a few chances. Defender Joel Edmundson was the most discreet, in a defensive role.
Nick Suzuki also found the back of the net, while Jonathan Drouin and Jeff Petry each had two assists.
William Nylander had two goals and an assist for the Maple Leafs and Tavares, one goal and two assists. Jimmy Vesey also hit the mark.
Carey Price stopped 29 shots in goal for the Canadiens. At the other end of the ice, Frederik Andersen made 28 saves.
The Canadiens will play their next two games against the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday and Monday.
On a roller coaster
Price was the first to be tested after just over three minutes of play. He moved to his right to frustrate Mitchell Marner with his right pad in a two-man attack on a Leafs.
The Canadian struck first, with 7:11 left on the power play. Suzuki shot into an open net after a Drouin deflection hit the post.
The Maple Leafs responded at 3:56 pm of the first twenty. Nylander surprised Price, who was visually impaired, with a long throw.
The Habs, however, returned to the locker room with a 2-1 lead. Anderson hit the mark with 23.6 seconds left, following a great staging by Drouin and Petry.
The Canadiens widened the power play gap in the second period. Moments after de Drouin had screwed up a breakaway opportunity, Tatar was able to stand alone in front of Andersen, whom he beat with a shot between the pads at 7:20.
In his first game with the Maple Leafs, Wayne Simmonds tried to change the pace of the game by throwing the gloves in front of Ben Chiarot.
Rather, it was the Canadian’s indiscipline that allowed his rivals to return to the game. Nylander outmaneuvered Price with an accurate shot with 2:00 to go while Anderson was in the dungeon.
Tavares then tied the game with 39.4 seconds left, with a two-man power play.
Anderson revived the Canadiens after 1:02 of play in the third period. He got past Tavares with his speed, then his shot slipped through Andersen’s equipment.
Phillip Danault, Suzuki and Anderson missed great opportunities to widen the gap and it came to haunt the Canadian at 10:33.
Drouin was unlucky in trying to clear the disc along the ramp behind his net. The puck hit the referee and Nylander retrieved it before joining Vesey in front of goal. Vesey easily outsmarted Price, taken by surprise due to the unexpected leap against the referee.
Rielly finally played the hero in overtime.