User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Leafs double up Habs on the road, 2-1

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

MONTREAL (AP) - It could not have been a more uplifting NHL debut for Michael Kostka.

Advertisement
The 27-year-old defenseman picked up his first point and logged major minutes Saturday to help the Toronto Maple Leafs spoil the Montreal Canadiens' home opener with a 2-1 victory to kick off the lockout-shortened season.

``Pretty sweet,'' said Kostka, who has bounced around the minor leagues since leaving the University of Massachusetts-Amhurst in 2008 before landing with the Leafs' organization this season.

``It's my first game and being able to play in Montreal and get the win was awesome,'' he added. ``I felt in mid-season form. And with such great fans like that, it's not tough to play.''

The power play was the difference on the night, with Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak connecting with the man advantage for Toronto, while Brian Gionta got one back for Montreal. Phil Kessel had two assists for the Leafs.

Another was that players who spent the lockout in the American Hockey League - including Kostka, Kadri and Toronto goaltender Ben Scrivens, who got the start ahead of James Reimer - were solid.

Scrivens finished with 21 saves, while Montreal goalie Carey Price, who quieted concerns about a groin he tweaked this week, stopped 24 shots in taking the loss.

Kostka was paired with Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf and was second on his team in ice time with 22:59.

``He was a dominant player,'' Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said of Kostka, who had 34 points in 34 games for the AHL's Toronto Marlies during the lockout. ``He looked comfortable. He had a great year in the AHL. It's astounding he never played a season in the NHL.''

Montreal's anemic power play was so disjointed at times that some in the crowd of 21,273 at the Bell Centre chanted ``We want P.K.'' in reference to holdout defenseman P.K. Subban.

But no sooner did their cries arise in the third period than Gionta banged in the rebound off Rafael Diaz's point shot with a man advantage to make it a one-goal game.

The Canadiens pushed hard for the equalizer, but Scrivens made a pad save on Diaz to preserve the win.

``Our execution was not there,'' Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. ``We were missing our passes. I liked the reaction (in the third period). We never quit. But any time you lose the special teams battle, it's tough to win. Tonight, we lost that battle. We have to keep working on that.''

It was supposed to be a big night for Therrien, who made his return to Montreal 10 years after he was fired from his first head coaching job in his hometown.

Many criticized his hiring, but in pre-game introductions, Therrien got one of the loudest, longest cheers, along with Price, returning defenseman Francis Bouillon and rookie Alex Galchenyuk.

The 18-year-old Galchenyuk saw limited action on the second line and was dropped to the third unit for the final period.

The Canadiens dominated the early going but the Leafs took momentum when they scored on their first shot of the game at 4:51 of the first.

A pass from Kessel hit a skate and went to Kadri, who lifted the puck into an open side with Price moving the wrong way.

Montreal's Tomas Plekanec was off for unsportsmanlike conduct after spraying Scrivens with ice when Bozak made it 2-0 at 8:12 of the second. Bozak collected a rebound off a shot from Kessel in the slot and fired the puck past Price's glove.

The 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 81-year-old Beliveau was back at the Bell Centre looking fit after recovering from a stroke in February.

Both teams are looking to recapture their winning ways of the past, especially Toronto, which has missed the playoffs seven years in row. The Leafs got off to a good start with a win in their rival's rink. They'll try to make it two in a row in their home opener Monday against the Buffalo Sabres.

``We haven't made the playoffs,'' Carlyle said. ``When you're the butt of jokes in the hockey world, it's not fun. We take that seriously.''

Notes: Before the game, Toronto named Clarke MacArthur and Joffrey Lupul as alternate captains. ... Both teams had five chances on the power play.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Sportsbook: Updated Odds and Props
Devils sign Andy Greene to extension
Jackets sign D'Amigo, Tyrell to deals
Wings hire assistants Hiller, Brewer
Kings re-sign Dwight King to 3-year deal
Canadiens add 2 to coaching staff
Wild re-sign Fontaine to 2-year contract
Staal has surgery to fix muscle injury
Jets, Frolik agree to one-year deal
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NHL Pro Hockey Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2013 NHL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 2196
Bruce Marshall + 1208
Joe Williams + 62
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last 7 Days  
   
   
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1956
Bill Marzano + 603
   
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 900
Tony Stoffo + 553
Bill Marzano + 341
Yesterday's Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Yesterday  
   
   
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 2026
Joe Williams + 1559
Bill Marzano + 989
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!