After a strong first period, the Leafs were in penalty trouble in the second and despite not allowing a goal they were in need of regaining the momentum some way early in the third period.
That is exactly what Clarke MacArthur did scoring just 1:36 into the third period. After taking a pass from Nikolai Kulemin, MacArthur made a nice dangle around Jaroslav Spacek and he backhanded home his first goal of the season and first wearing the Blue and White.
Blocked shots for the Maple Leafs.
Straight wins for the Leafs over the Canadiens.
Wins all-time in home openers for the Maple Leafs.
J.S. Giguere kept the Leafs in the game for long stretches and was the difference.
Giguere didn't have a great deal of work in the first period but that changed in the final 40 minutes. In the second period he made a fantastic pad save on Lars Eller. Early in the third he stopped Dustin Boyd on the breakaway and in the dying seconds of the game his left pad robbed Brian Gionta.
There was lots of pressure on Mikhail Grabovski coming into this season. After a tough 2009-10 season, Grabovski anchors the Leafs' second line and he, Kulemin and MacArthur have formed some great chemistry early on.
Grabovski was using his great speed all night in creating chances, going hard on the forecheck while also doing a good job of backchecking. He finished the night with one assist in 17:28 of action.
One area where the Leafs needed to see a dramatic improvement was on the special teams. It wasn't a great night for the power play going 0-5 but the penalty killing was excellent.
Although only shorthanded three times, the Leafs allowed just two shots which is remarkable. They were more aggressive, they used their sticks to get in the shooting lanes and they blocked shots - all things that they didn't do last season when they were the 29th ranked unit.
Ron Wilson on the standout play of Jean-Sebastien Giguere right until the very last second:
"He played really well. He focuses and he battles every shot. Looking at the game, this is probably one that last year we'd get tied against in the last minute and because of a couple of his great saves we ended up preserving the win."
Saturday October 9 vs. Ottawa 7 PM ET (CBC, AM640)
Game Notes: The Maple Leafs play their second straight home against another rival, this time the Ottawa Senators.
This will be the Senators' second game in as many nights and the Leafs will look to take advantage of that.