The Montreal Canadiens put on a grand party to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their franchise, but the Toronto Maple Leafs played spoilers on the opening night of the 2013-14 NHL season.
The Leafs emerged as the victors by a score of 4-3.
The game featured a little bit of everything that hockey has to offer—lots of speed and skill, but also plenty of fisticuffs and an ugly incident that sent one of the NHL's best-loved players to hospital on a stretcher.
After a marvellous ceremony to start the season, the action was fast-paced and wide-open in the first period. After 20 minutes, Montreal was up 2-1.
Tempers flared in the second as Montreal's new enforcer George Parros squared off against Colton Orr to avenge an earlier hit on Max Pacioretty that caused him to leave the game for a spell. Newly returned from an injury of his own, Toronto's Mark Fraser dropped the gloves against Travis Moen before the period was out. The Leafs also scored two pretty goals in the second—a stunning wrist shot from Dion Phaneuf and a dizzying shorthanded marker by Tyler Bozak—to take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.
The score was still 3-2 early in the third when a chain reaction of fights set off the ugliness. After Jarred Tinordi and Carter Ashton squared off behind the net, Orr and Parros met up for a return bout. This time, Parros fell face first to the ice as the pair wrestled, out cold and bleeding from the chin.
The Princeton-educated tough guy was eventually stretchered off the ice as the festive mood evaporated inside Montreal's Bell Centre.
Mason Raymond's third-period marker during the funereal stretch of the game proved to be the winner for the Leafs. Lars Eller managed a late shorthanded tally for Montreal, but a last-minute flurry was not enough to draw even and force overtime.
The Toronto Maple Leafs win their first game of the season 4-3 over the Montreal Canadiens.