Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 1
MONTREAL (AP) _ Mats Sundin had a goal and two assists as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 Saturday night in the NHL season opener for both clubs.
Sundin scored a shorthanded goal at 6:05 of the first period. Former Canadien Jonas Hoglund scored off the rebound of a shot by Sundin at 17:13 of the second period for a 2-0 lead.
Martin Rucinsky cut the deficit to one goal at 7:02 of the third, but Tomas Kaberle’s shot from a bad angle went in off goaltender Jeff Hackett’s arm at 10:23 for a 3-1 lead.
Sergei Berezin added an insurance goal with 30 seconds left.
Hundreds of Toronto supporters were among the full house of 21,273 at the Molson Centre as the Canadiens opened their 90th season showing the same lack of finish that caused them to miss the playoffs last season.
The Maple Leafs outshot the Canadiens 29-26, with Curtis Joseph holding off five Montreal power plays with some sharp goaltending.
Sundin poked the puck past defenseman Barry Richter at the blue line during a first-period Montreal power play and went in alone on Hackett to open the scoring.
In the second, Steve Thomas fed Sundin in front for a quick shot. The rebound went to an uncovered Hoglund, who lifted the puck into an open side.
Trevor Linden, in his first game for Montreal, slid a pass across the crease for Rucinsky to push into an open side in the third period, but Kaberle got it back for the harmless looking shot that fooled Hackett.