The Montreal Canadiens’ first game of the season started with a faceoff win by #11-wearing Scott Gomez, and then proceeded to be outshot 12-7 in the first period by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The first goal, at 6:42, was scored by Tim Brent, with coverage by Ryan O’Byrne and Alexandre Picard lacking. An ill-advised Hal Gill pinch led to the second goal by Phil Kessel two minutes later. Dustin Boyd made it 2-1 at 12:19, off some terrific forechecking by Maxim Lapierre. The Canadiens looked good in the second period but failed to even the score, and the uneventful period featured no goals. Clarke MacArthur made it 3-1 for the Leafs at the start of the third period but Jeff Halpern scored less than a minute later to make it a one-goal game yet again. Brian Gionta, Lars Eller and Tomas Plekanec led a last-minute assault on the Toronto net, but unfortunately the Habs could not get the tying goal to send it into overtime. The final score was 3-2, with a valiant effort by the losing Habs.
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
First Star – Lars Eller: Eller was immediately apparent as an excellent acquisition, with at least three excellent scoring chances in the first period alone. For a guy who played in only 7 NHL games last year, he made a difference on the PP and 5-on-5 and was a threat every time he was on the ice.
Second Star – Maxim Lapierre: Effective shifts, involved in every play, he set up 2 beautiful goals and had his best game since before last season.
Third Star – Jaroslav Spacek: Steady on defence, he was shooting bullets all night long, even though none of them hit the back of the net.
Dustin Boyd: Scoring the first goal of the season for the Canadiens, he had three shots on goal and killed penalties effectively. Ditto
Jeff Halpern, who pitched in with a timely second-effort goal. Carey Price did not steal the game, but was not the reason for the loss tonight. In fact, he kept his team in it until the end.