Opening night expected both teams to come out flying, but only one team did the Montreal Canadiens and boy did they come out flying. The Leafs were flat almost all game with missed passes, defensive lapses and barely any zone time. But their stars bailed them out tonight. Lehkonen opened the scoring in the first for Canadiens at 9:34. The big powerplay went to work at Matthews tied it up at 12:57 of the first period. Tavares potted his first goal as a Maple Leafs at 18:07 off of a beautiful individual deke and snipe. But the chippy Canadiens fought back and were rewarded with 14 seconds left in the 2nd period as Shaw scored on the powerplay beating Anderson with a beauty. The 3rd period was dominated by the Canadiens and the Leafs were lucky to make it to overtime. If it wasn’t for Anderson in the 3rd this game would have been over. But in OT Matthews came through again putting it top shelf on a very slick pass from Marleau. Anderson made 34 saves and Price made 23 saves in a 3-2 Overtime win for the Maple Leafs in their home opener.
Revisiting the Keys to win:
4 Keys to Winning in Montreal:
- Attack the Montreal defence.
- This failed to happen as the Habs took it to the Leafs almost all night. No possession time and barely any zone time.
- Bodies in front of Carey Price.
- Price showed his elite status tonight and came up big even with traffic.
- Speed Speed Speed
- Montreal dictated the pace all night and it showed in every facet of the game except the scoreboard
- Leafs defencemen need to limit the time spent in their own zone.
- The Leafs at times could barely get out of their zone. Hainsey was a victim all night.
Leafs needs to better come next game or else teams will begin to victimize them. Expect a different Leafs squad come Saturday.
You can read my colleague Armand Klisivitch’s post game recap covering the Montreal Canadiens by clicking here.