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Leafs edge Habs in opener ... again

The SportsXchange

MONTREAL -- The Toronto Maple Leafs have the Montreal Canadiens' number in season openers.

Dion Phaneuf and Tyler Bozak scored second-period goals to lead the Maple Leafs to a 4-3 win over the Habs on Tuesday night in the first regular season game for both teams.

The only two current NHL franchises that date back uninterrupted to the league's founding in 1917, the Maple Leafs and Canadiens opened each of the last five seasons against each other. Toronto won the last four and holds a 10-5 advantage overall in season openers between the teams.

"It's a good rivalry and every game's a good battle," said Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer, who made 34 saves. "It was another good one tonight."

Phaneuf scored 8:36 into the second to draw Toronto even at two and Bozak scored on a short-handed breakaway at 17:19 to give the Maple Leafs their second lead of the game.

Mason Raymond scored 5:10 into the third in his Toronto debut to increase the lead to 4-2.

James van Riemsdyk scored on a 5-on-3 in the first for the Maple Leafs.

"Early in the season, special teams usually have a huge impact on the success or failure of your group, and tonight I thought our special teams were the difference in the game," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "The short-handed goal kind of turned everything in our favor and the power play got us going."

Lars Eller scored his second goal of the game 17:38 into the third to draw Montreal to within one.

Brendan Gallagher also scored for the Canadiens while Carey Price stopped 34 shots.

The game was delayed 3:34 into the third after new Canadiens enforcer George Parros was injured when he fell face-first onto the ice at the end of his second fight of the game with Toronto tough-guy Colton Orr.

Orr, who earned a game misconduct along with Parros, immediately motioned for help for his counterpart, who lay motionless on ice.

"It's scary," Orr said. "Ice isn't going to give."

Canadiens physician Vincent Lacroix attended to Parros, who had his head and neck immobilized before being taken off the ice on a stretcher, bleeding from the chin.

A team spokesman said that Parros suffered a concussion. He was being held in the hospital overnight for further tests.

"It's tough to see a guy like that go down," Gallagher said. "We would have liked to respond better for him."

Reimer got the start in goal over newcomer Jonathan Bernier, who was acquired in a June 23 trade with Los Angeles that sent goalie Ben Scrivens and forward Matt Frattin to the Kings along with a second-round pick in either 2014 or 2015.

"I'm competing against the other team, not against the guy sitting beside me," said Reimer, who has won each of his last four starts against Montreal. "They gave me the chance to get the nod here and go and I wanted to make the most of it and play my hardest for my teammates, and lucky enough we won."

Van Riemsdyk opened the scoring on a two-man advantage 8:01 into the game. Phil Kessel assisted on the goal after signing an eight-year, $64-million contract extension earlier Tuesday.

It was the Maple Leafs' only power-play goal in seven opportunities, but Canadiens captain Brian Gionta said that killing all those penalties had a cumulative effect.

"I think our downfall tonight was staying out of the box," Gionta said. "We took too many penalties, gave them too many opportunities on the power play. You drain guys, you lose energy that way, you lose momentum and that's what happened."

Montreal tied it 2:07 later just five seconds after Phaneuf was sent off for boarding when he shoved Brandon Prust into the boards.

With the teams skating 4-on-4 on the ensuing faceoff, Eller won the draw and was left alone in the goalmouth to put home a sharp pass by Raphael Diaz to draw the Canadiens even at 10:08.

Gallagher put Montreal ahead 2-1 at 13:54 moments after Price got the tip of his glove on a shot by Dave Bolland to rob the Toronto newcomer.

NOTES: Chants of "Guy! Guy! Guy!" greeted Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur as he made his way out from the Montreal dressing room with a lit torch to kick off pre-game introductions. Lafleur, who had six straight 50-goal seasons with the Canadiens in the 1970s, handed the torch to Montreal newcomer Daniel Briere, who made his debut with the club after signing a two-year, $8 million free-agent contract July 4. ... Maple Leafs right wing David Clarkson served the first game of his 10-game suspension. Clarkson, who left New Jersey to sign a seven-year, $36.75 million contract with Toronto, got an automatic suspension for coming off the bench during a preseason brawl against Buffalo. ... Parros also fought Orr 4:25 into the second in his Montreal debut. Acquired in a trade with Florida on July 5, he did not play in the preseason while rehabbing from shoulder surgery. ... Referee Steve Kozari left the game briefly after he was cut in the face when struck by Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser's stick just before Parros and Orr fought in the second. Kozari's partner, Kelly Sutherland, called the game on his own until Kozari returned later in the middle period.
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