WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) - The NHL returned to Winnipeg with a cold reminder of the challenge that lies ahead.
Carey Price stopped 30 shots and the Montreal Canadiens put a damper on a massive civic celebration with a 5-1 victory over the Jets on Sunday.
The return of big-league hockey to the city had fans celebrating in the streets hours before the puck was dropped and horns honking outside the MTS Centre throughout the afternoon. Virtually everyone was decked out in Jets gear - both new and old.
With so much of the focus on the anticipation surrounding the NHL's return after 15 years, the performance of the team itself almost seemed secondary. But that changed in a hurry with a sloppy game by the Jets that suggested they have plenty of work to do to become the playoff team coach Claude Noel believes they can be.
Mike Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec, Yannick Weber, Travis Moen and Max Pacioretty scored for the opportunistic Canadiens, who bounced back from a 2-0 loss in Toronto to open the season.
Nik Antropov replied for Winnipeg. As the Atlanta Thrashers last season, the franchise finished 12th in the Eastern Conference. All but four players from that team were in the Jets' lineup Sunday.