William Nylander broke a tie at 1:06 of the third interval and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on Wednesday evening within the opener for each groups.

In a rematch of Montreal’s seven-game victory within the first spherical of the playoffs final season, Toronto gained in entrance of 18,493 masked and absolutely vaccinated followers in Scotiabank Arena’s first regular-season crowd since March 10, 2020.

“It was very special,” Nylander stated. “Such a long time (since) we played with fans.”

Nylander took a cross from Morgan Rielly off the push earlier than faking a slap shot and excessive to goalie Jake Allen’s quick facet.

“The first 10 minutes we were not good,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe stated. “Took us a while to really get comfortable in the game. From then on I thought the effort was really strong. The guys worked, competed. It was a tight game right to the end … happy that we find our way to get on the right side.”

Jack Campbell made 31 saves for Toronto, permitting solely Jonathan Drouin’s first-period purpose. Pierre Engvall tied it on an influence play halfway by way of the second.

“Just incredible,” Campbell stated. “The fans were just super loud and super into the game. “It’s nice to see everyone again.”

Toronto star Auston Matthews, the NHL leader with 41 goals in 52 games last season, sat out because of a wrist injury that hasn’t fully healed from surgery.

Allen made 28 saves.

Canadiens goalie Carey Price entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program last week and will be away from the team until at least early November. Captain Shea Weber will miss the season with potentially career-threatening ankle and foot injuries.

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

“It was good to get one,” he said. “But I want we acquired the 2 factors as a substitute. … My head’s clearer. I’m extra within the sport, I’m extra targeted, I’m extra prepared. Going to the rink was a very completely different expertise for me than the previous couple years.”

NOTES: The Canadiens dressed simply 13 of the 20 gamers who suited up in Game 5 of the membership’s Stanley Cup Finals loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in July. … The forty eighth Highlanders, who’ve carried out at each Toronto curtain-raiser since Maple Leaf Gardens opened in 1931, stored the custom alive just about final season, and have been again Wednesday with their pipes and drums on the ice previous to warmups.

UP NEXT

Canadiens: At Buffalo on Thursday evening.

Maple Leafs: At Ottawa on Thursday evening to open home-and-home collection.