Leafs Postgame – Toronto Drops Season Opener to Montreal

It’s so fun when hockey’s back. It’s not so fun when your team gives up a go-ahead goal with under a minute to play. Alas, here we are, with the Toronto Maple Leafs dropping their home and season opener to the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 4-3.

The Rundown

Despite a really strong, really impressive start from the Leafs, it was the Canadiens that got on the board first. Beating Dion Phaneuf cleanly to the outside, Max Pacioretty took the puck deep down the boards, cut towards the net, and slid a softie right under Jonathan Bernier. 

You’d think that the fact that was Montreal’s first shot on goal would be the story of the period, but a couple young Leafs in their first NHL games turned in some excellent frames to help Toronto finish the first up 2-1.

First, Brandon Kozun turned a great shift into an equally great scoring chance, with Nazem Kadri getting his stick on the puck and deflecting it over Carey Price’s glove hand.

Next, Stuart Percy dumps the puck into the Canadiens zone, retrieves the puck himself, then cooly plays it to Tyler Bozak in front for the easy tap-in.

Tomas Plekanec would score the lone second period goal, and P.K. Subban would put another behind Bernier to put Montreal ahead 3-2 about halfway through the third period.

Morgan Rielly would score a fluke goal just over two minutes remaining in the game, after hustling to a loose puck, throwing it to the front of the net, and banking it in off a Canadiens player. The 3-3 tie wouldn’t last long however, as Montreal would score an equally flukey goal after Plekanec would bank his own shot off Percy’s boot and into the net. The Canadiens would hold on for another 43 seconds for the 4-3 win.

Blue Warrior

I’m giving it to Percy. Paired with Roman Polak in his first NHL game, Percy earned one assist, played over 20 minutes, and found himself on both the power play and penalty kill. 

He’s far from the biggest or strongest guy on the ice, but Percy has a good amount of skill and is very, very intelligent. If tonight is any indication of what we can expect from Percy, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he sticks in the NHL even after Cody Franson comes off the IR.

Notes

  • Montreal outshot Toronto 32-27 and Bernier finished the game with an .875 SV%. The first goal against was a softie, but all in all Bernier had a decent game. 
  • Peter Holland had a quiet night, but still lead the Leafs with a 20.54 Corsi Rel%. 
  • David Clarkson was second with 16.76 Corsi Rel%, and was a permanent fixture on the Leafs’ second powerplay unit with Kadri and Joffrey Lupul.
  • Sportsnet’s Sky Cam was fun, its Ref Cam was pretty alright, and its POV Cam was downright creepy. I legitimately felt like I was invading Leo Komarov’s personal space.

See You On Saturday

The Leafs are back in action this Saturday, facing off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:00pm. Watch it on CBC.

  • Gonzomaus

    I didn’t get to watch the game tonight but looking at the fancy stats which I have come to now trust after last year prediction of a leaf collapse I’d like to see some changes for the next game.

    It appears that Polak and Clarkson and Holland performed the best on d, wing and center and can probably handle more difficult competition. Whereas, Bozak, Kessel and Phaneuf were hot garbage tonight and should be sheltered.

    At any rate, I’d like Dubas to push Carlyle to replace Phaneuf with the dependable Polak on the D, replace Bozak with Holland and switch up Kessel with Clarkson. Those types of changes would help the leafs drive possession.

    Ohh and also looking at Bernier’s SV%, we also need to switch him with Reimer next game.

  • Gonzomaus

    Hmm. This post-game feels a bit hastily thrown together…

    – The Komarov-Santorelli-Clarkson line was a big positive throughout the game. Lots of offensive zone cycles and creating a handful of good chances.

    – Tough way for Percy to end the game. Chin up kid, you were probably the teams best defenceman tonight.

    – Kessel and JVR were pretty much invisible offensively tonight. I would throw Bozak in there as well, but he did score a goal so he gets a pass.

    – PK looked promising. Didn’t notice Robidas much, but I’m going to say that’s a good thing with him.

  • Gonzomaus

    Did anyone else notice all the goals that the montreal Canadiens scored were luck? Just saying. Berns would have saved those. I think he will progress throughout the season. Just takes time to warm up

  • Gonzomaus

    Did anyone else notice all the goals that the montreal Canadiens scored were luck? Just saying. Berns would have saved those. I think he will progress throughout the season. Just takes time to warm up

  • TGT23

    Was it my imagination or did Kessel look like he was playing hurt.

    Percy and Pollack look very good.

    I think Kadri and Lupul dont have good chemistry together.

    It’s nice to see there is more offense on the team other than the Kessel JVR and Kessel line who at times were dominated tonight.

    The game could of easily gone either way,
    Bernier let in a soft one on the first goal,
    but one of the Leafs goals was offside .

    Bozak should of drawn a penalty at the end of the period as the montreal defenseman had his stick in his hands.

    The Leafs passing was poor tonight -loads of passes in the skates.

    But lots of positives as well
    even with the loss.

    • Yeah, Kessel seemed reluctant to try to beat anyone with his speed, kept stopping up and looking to pass. I think they should keep Lupul and Kessel together, because Lupul seems to be a point per game player with Kessel and JVR would probably do just as well with Kadri as with Kessel.

      Should’ve/could’ve, not should of/could of :P. The more you know ==*

  • I didn’t like the sky cam, it just seemed like whenever they showed a replay from the sky cam I was thinking I couldn’t see what happened, need a better angle. It’s only good for seeing a wide view of what happened (where everyone was..).

    And I’m sure the players would be happier without the POV nose hair cam!

    Decent game by the Leafs, the Habs are a quality team.

    As for coachfancystats above, you shouldn’t make judgements on such a small sample size, sarcasm aside 😛

  • Goon

    Amazing, Bernier can do no wrong, the guy sucked and this just needs to warm up and get his game on..don’t think so…this is what he wanted and he should have burned hot not luck warm, even reporters stated he looked shaky…I se the excuses for your prize goalie have begun…I said many times, Bernier is not that great….and I knew they were going to loose….
    But boy if it had been reims…you fans would have torn him apart….Reims had a great win record for the opening games agasint the habs and should have been giving the game….it should have been the goalie with the best chance and expereince on opening nights to have the game not play what you all is the starter?? you’ll never know if Reims could have done it again and you would have been in the win colume for the first game of the season…

    LOOKS GOOD YOU ALL GO REIMS GO

    • TGT23

      Seriously? You want to talk about how #1’s have to be ready and can’t be shaky and follow that up by trying to make it seem like Reimer should have gotten the start..? Seriously?

      Did you WATCH Reimer last season? Or two seasons before? He is the epitomy of shaky. Bernier doesn’t get hurt the team makes the playoffs last season. Reimer goes in and aids in another collapse. Wasn’t he part of the last one, too?

      Stop crying, bud. Reimer was given every chance and blew it. He’s a backup. Bernier is the starter and sometimes they play bad. Like Quick, Varlomov, Smith, and Price have. All with sub .900sv% in Game 1.

  • I’ve heard a lot about Kessel arriving in camp out of shape each year. I didn’t see the whole game last night, but when I saw the box score, he might as well have had crickets chirping next to his name.

    Hopefully he shakes it off for next game; the leafs need him firing away. It’s not a good night for Phil when Reilly gets more shots on net.

  • Gonzomaus

    wHY SO MANY TRASHES ON MY POST?????

    TRUTH HURTS???

    Look give it a rest, what I said was the truth, to be the Number 1 you have to be ready especially on opening night, you got a back up goalie trying to fit the shoes of a number 1 goalie and he didn’t fill them plain and simple…and yes he came over as the back up goalie for the Kings and hasn’t proven anything more than that….

    I wish Bernier and all you leafs fans luck in your search for that playoff spot your goona need it….their no where near a standley cup contender again this year….. making the playoffs but never really going anywhere in them, doesn’t mean anything, you have to actually get in the playoffs and make it count for something more than this team does…they still don’t gel or compete like a team that’s hungry….deal with it…

    Reims deserved better and still you all sh**t on him…shame on you…..