Nylander breaks tie in 3rd period, Leafs beat Canadiens 2-1

William Nylander broke the tie at 1:06 of the third period and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 Wednesday night in Game 1 for both teams

TORONTO – William Nylander broke the tie at 1:06 of the third period and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 Wednesday night in Game 1 for both teams.

In a rematch of Montreal’s seven-game first-round playoff victory last season, Toronto won in front of 18,493 masked and fully vaccinated fans in the Scotiabank Arena’s first regular-season crowd since March 10, 2020.

“It was very special,” Nylander said. “It’s been so long (since) that we’ve been playing with fans.”

Nylander took a pass from Morgan Rielly out of the run before faking a slapshot and reaching the short end of goaltender Jake Allen.

“The first 10 minutes we weren’t good,” said Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe. “It took us a while to really feel comfortable in the game. From there I thought the effort was really strong. The guys worked, competed. It was a close game until the end … glad we found our way to get on the safe side. “

Jack Campbell made 31 saves for Toronto, allowing only Jonathan Drouin’s goal in the first period. Pierre Engvall tied the power play in the middle of the second.

“Simply amazing,” said Campbell. “The fans were just super loud and super in the game. “It’s great to see everyone again.”

Toronto star Auston Matthews, the NHL point guard with 41 goals in 52 games last season, was sidelined with a wrist injury that did not fully heal from surgery.

Allen made 28 saves.

Canadiens goalie Carey Price joined the NHL / NHLPA Player Assistance Program last week and will be out of the team at least until early November. Captain Shea Weber will miss the season with life-threatening ankle and foot injuries.

Drouin returned after leaving the team in the spring to deal with anxiety and insomnia.

“It was good to have one,” he said. “But I wish we had the colon instead. … My head is clearer. I am more in the game, I am more focused, I am more ready. Going to the ice rink was a completely different experience for me than the last two years. “

NOTES: The Canadiens dressed just 13 of the 20 players who played in Game 5 of the club’s Stanley Cup Final loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in July. … The 48th Highlanders, who have performed at every Toronto curtain-raiser since Maple Leaf Gardens opened in 1931, continued the tradition virtually last season and were back on Wednesday with their bagpipes and drums on the ice before warm-ups.

FOLLOWING

Canadians: In Buffalo Thursday night.

Maple Leafs: In Ottawa Thursday night to open the round-trip series.

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