Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak scored power-play goals as the Toronto Maple Leafs opened the lockout-shortened NHL season with a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.
The Maple Leafs went 2 for 5 with the man-advantage and held Montreal to 1 for 5 on Brian Gionta's goal — and that was the difference in a sloppily played game by both clubs.
Michael Kostka, playing his first NHL game at 27 years old, earned an assist on Kadri's goal and was second only to fellow defenseman Dion Phaneuf in ice time for the Maple Leafs in a strong debut performance.
The Leafs outshot the Canadiens 26-22.
Montreal's anemic power play was so disjointed for most of the game, it had many in the crowd of 21,273 chanting "We want P.K." — in reference to holdout point man P.K. Subban. But at 13:51 of the third period, Gionta banged in the rebound off Rafael Diaz's point shot with a man advantage to make it a one-goal game
The Canadiens dominated the early going, but the Leafs took momentum when they scored on their first shot of the game at 4:51.
Phil Kessel's pass hit a skate and went to Kadri, who lifted the puck into an open side with goalie Carey Price moving the wrong way.
Montreal's Tomas Plekanec was off for unsportsmanlike conduct after spraying goalie Ben Scrivens with ice when Bozak made it 2-0 at 8:12 of the second frame. A rebound off Kessel went into the slot for the Leafs center to lift over Price's glove.
A pregame ceremony saw Canadiens legends including Henri Richard and Yvon Cournoyer descend from the seats with a torch, which was passed on to 1950s and 1960s great Jean Beliveau, who finally gave it to current captain Brian Gionta to carry out to center ice.
The loudest cheers in pregame introductions were for Price, returning defenseman Francis Bouillon and rookie Alex Galchenyuk, who saw limited action on the second line but was dropped to the third unit for the final period.
Notes: Before the game, Toronto named Clarke MacArthur and Joffrey Lupul as alternate captains. ... The Leafs' home opener is Monday against the Buffalo Sabres.