Reimer shuts out Canadiens in Leafs' opening win
TORONTO—James Reimer made 32 saves for his fourth NHL shutout, and Matthew Lombardi scored in his first game in almost a year to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 2-0 season-opening victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
Dion Phaneuf had the other goal for the Maple Leafs, who also began last season by beating Montreal.
The Maple Leafs were bailed out on several occasions by Reimer. He made a nice early stop on a low shot from Max Pacioretty and turned aside P.K. Subban's one-timer, getting a fortunate break when the rebound was swept off the post and out.
Montreal held a 13-4 shots advantage in the first period.
Lombardi made it 1-0 with a short-handed goal just 33 seconds into the second period. After he and Mike Brown came in on a 2-on-1 break, Lombardi swooped around the net and knocked the loose puck past goalie Carey Price.
The veteran center, playing his first regular-season game in 358 days after missing almost all of last season because of a concussion, pumped his fist enthusiastically.
The goal gave Toronto a lift but the Maple Leafs were unable to beat Price on three subsequent power plays during the period. Price also came up big early in the third period when Joffrey Lupul was left alone in front, getting his glove on a point-blank chance to keep it 1-0.
Phaneuf gave the Leafs an insurance goal by taking Phil Kessel's pass on the rush and hammering a one-timer past Price's glove at 4:42.
Montreal was soon awarded another power play, its fourth of the night, but Reimer shut the door again. His best stop came on Tomas Plekanec's point shot that got through heavy traffic.
The Maple Leafs won despite using a patchwork lineup that included forward David Steckel, who was acquired in a trade from New Jersey on Tuesday.
NOTES: It was the 709th meeting between the teams, dating to 1917. ... Montreal D Chris Campoli left with an undisclosed lower body injury during the second period and didn't return. ... The Canadiens were without Andrei Markov (knee), Blair Betts (lower body), Lars Eller (shoulder) and Alexei Emelin (healthy scratch). ... Tim Connolly (upper body), Nazem Kadri (knee), Clarke MacArthur (suspension), Colton Orr (healthy scratch) and Cody Franson (healthy scratch) sat out for Toronto. ... Steckel earned the third star in his Maple Leafs debut.