Carey Price and Max Pacioretty shine as the Montreal Canadien’s defeat the Toronto Maple Leaf’s 3-1 on the road in their first game of the season. Alex Galchenyuk scored the go-ahead goal in what was a very close contest between the bitter rivals.
Max Pacioretty scored less than four minutes into the game and added an empty-net goal with 30.8 seconds left in the game. Montreal Canadien’s goalie Carey Price sealed the victory, stopping 36 shots on the night.
Positives from game one for Toronto Maple Leafs
Despite the loss, Mike Babcock still has plenty of positives to take away from his first game as the new bench boss of the Toronto Maple Leafs. They matched the Canadien’s for speed and had some good spells of pressure in the first period.
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The Leafs outshot the Canadien’s 11-7 in the first period. Leaf’s starting goalie Jonathan Bernier was able to rebound from conceding an early to put together a strong performance. Bernier earned second-star honors for his 27 saves throughout the game and ended with a .931 save percentage.
The Leaf’s top forwards James Van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul combined for seven shots and four hits on the night.
Coach’s Challenge Introduced
Fans of both teams got to see a new rule initiated by the NHL called the Coach’s Challenge. This new rule gives coaches the ability to challenge referee’s goal rulings on the basis of if the play was offside or the goalie was interfered with.
A team may only request a Coach's Challenge if they have their time-out available and the Coach's Challenge must be effectively initiated prior to the resumption of play. Leaf’s Coach Mike Babcock successfully won his Coach’s Challenge and, as a result, took a goal away from the Montreal Canadiens.
If the Coach's Challenge does result in the call on the ice being overturned, the team successfully exercising such challenge will retain its time-out. Babcock won his challenge and as a result overturned a Montreal goal to keep the game close.
This rule is an excellent improvement within the NHL. It will certainly help eliminate the crash the net type goals that end up injuring goalies. The Toronto Maple Leafs certainly benefited and proved that it works.
This season opener displayed some good old fashioned hockey. Both teams were very evenly matched in every respect. Babcock should be pleased with his team’s effort. Unfortunately for Toronto, they just didn’t have an answer for Montreal’s Carey Price.
Babcock will look to tally his first win with his new team against his old team the Detroit Red Wings on Friday. I can’t wait to see what Red Wing’s fans have planned to honor their previous Coach.