Two games. Two overtimes. Two different results.
The Toronto Maple Leafs battled back from 1-0, 2-1 and 3-1 deficits tonight to win their first game of the season, beating the Canadiens 4-3 in overtime in a typically raucous, playoff-intense matchup between the two Original Six clubs.
Tomas Kaberle scored for the Leafs on 4-on-3, eight seconds into a holding penalty assessed to Canadiens defenceman Francis Bouillon.
Toronto outshot Montreal 29-25 over 60 minutes; the Canadiens had a 3-2 edge in overtime.
The Canadiens had taken a 3-2 lead into the third period, having gotten a goal from Mathieu Dandenault in the first 20 minutes, then Andrei Markov and Andrei Kostitsyn in the second. They were first goals of the season for all three players.
Ian White replied for the Maple Leafs in the first, and Alexei Ponikarovsky scored the dreaded late-period goal at 18:55 of the second on a sloppy clearing attempt by Canadiens goalie Cristobal Huet.
That seemed to give the Leafs a boost from the start of the third, and Ponikarovsky tied it at 3-3 just 2:55 into the final period.
Markov’s goal was shorthanded; the other five until that point were even strength. After having scored all three of their goals on the power-play in Wednesday’s season-opening win over Carolina, Montreal went 0-for-6 with the man advantage through two periods. The Leafs were 0-for-2.
The Canadiens returned home after the game and travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday for Wednesday’s game vs. the Penguins. They’re back in Montreal for next Saturday’s Bell Centre home opener against the Hurricanes.
The National Hockey League billed this “Super Saturday”, with a season-high 14 games on the schedule. More on that below.