It is good to finally get back to watching the greatest sport on earth again. Albeit, weird on a Tuesday night, CBC delivered two great games as they have been known to do for the last 60 years.
Tonight opened with the Leafs in Montreal and the Jets were in Edmonton. Both games were decided by one goal, and both nearly went into overtime.
The Leafs/Habs opener had just about everything you could possibly ask for in a hockey game. Throw in a streaker and that would completely top it off, but in terms of the game, those Leaf fans that made the trip to Molson Centre, boy oh boy, was it ever an awesome Tuesday night.
Wednesday should be a pretty good day at work for the ones who go.
Tyler Bozak scored a beauty, Dion Phaneuf picked the corner just inside the cross bar, Mason Raymond scored in his first season game as a Leaf, and three different guys got into fights, you can probably guess who they might have been!
Oh, and James Reimer proved for the vast majority of the hockey game that this is going to be his hockey team.
It got off to a perfect start for Leaf supporters as James van Riemsdyk scored what should be the first goal of the 2013-14 NHL season when he beat all-star netminder Carey Price with a wrist shot at the 8:01 mark of the opening period. Newly-signed Phil Kessel recorded his first point since signing that 8-year mega deal early that same day. Cody Franson, who also recent re-signed with the club, tallied the second assist.
However, the last laughs of the period would belong to Les Habitants. Lars Eller scored midway through the period from Raphael Diaz and Alex Galchenyuk and teammate Brendan Gallagher gave the Habs the lead. Eller and Galchenyuk had the assists.
The lead would last eight minutes into the second period when Dion Phaneuf wristed a shot just under the cross bar past Carey Price. Nazem Kadri and Nikolai Kulemin had their first points of the regular season before Tyler Bozak got in along on Price and beat him blocker side on a SH breakaway.
Then things got nasty. You grow to expect that from these two teams, but nasty doesn’t even describe it well. A brutal injury suffered by new Habs enforcer George Parros had the Molson Centre dead quiet.
Check the video link. It kinda sucks but it was the best I could find. Fast forward to 1:47 left and see the tail end of what happened: http://video.mapleleafs.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=449780&navid=DL|TOR|home
Here is a much better one that shows Parros still on his feet.
After a first fight in the second period between Parros and Leaf enforcer Colton Orr, the two went at it again. In the second encounter, Parros lost his balance and dove face first into the ice and was motionless for minutes as Orr stopped swinging, stood up and called for the Canadiens’ medical staff.
Twenty-minutes later, here comes the stretcher and Parros would eventually wind up being shipped to the hospital.
Also involved in the rough stuff was Carter Ashton and Jarred Tinordi. Late in the second period, Mark Fraser and Montreal’s Travis Moen also went at it. Fraser was livid at Moen for a slash in front of
James Reimer and got Moen to take off his helmet before he went to work on him.
Following all of the scrapping, Toronto’s Mason Raymond put the Leafs up 4-2 but Eller tallied his second on the night on a sweet semi-breakaway goal where he beat Reimer cleanly stick side.
Prior to Eller’s goal, Toronto’s JVR and Kadri had chance to put the game completely out of reach, with Price out of position, so Eller went short side and made things real interesting.
Reimer made a few key stops in the last couple of minutes to preserve the one-goal win.