September 25: NHL pre-season roundup
Jean Tavares scored in his first game since his injury last season, and the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 in the NHL’s opener at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Saturday.
“For me, it’s been a long time since I last played, considering how it ended,” Tavares said. “It was good to go out and get involved and feel the game again.… I would be lying if I said it was just a normal preseason game.”
Tavares gave Toronto a 2-0 lead at 1:55 of the second period with a power play goal. The center hadn’t played since a concussion and knee injury sustained in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup first round against the Canadiens on May 20.
“Every time you play your first game of the year, after a long offseason, you are excited to have the opportunity to compete again and play a game,” Tavares said. “You start to get a good idea of where you are at with the things you’ve been working on. But it didn’t end on a high note last year, obviously, personally. You never want to live anything. something like that, but it happened, and I keep moving forward. I had a great response and felt great, had a great offseason, and this game was kind of the next hurdle. “
Jake muzzin, Michael bunting and Kurtis Gabriel scored for Toronto. Michel hutchinson made 12 saves and Ian Scott made three.
Tyler toffoli scored a goal in the third period for Montreal. Cayden Primeau saved 18 of the 21 moves, and Michael mcniven allowed a goal on nine shots.
“I talked with John a lot and he really wanted to play, he really wanted him to be on the books,” said Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe. “I thought he looked strong and confident.… Lots of good things to come out of this one for him.”
Blue 6, Wild 2: James neal, with the St. Louis Blues on a pro tryout, scored a hat trick in a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Wild in their preseason opener at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis Saturday.
The forward gave the Blues a 2-0 lead at 2:22 of the second period, made it 4-2 at 5:20 of the third period and scored a goal in an empty net for a lead 5-2 with 53 seconds left.
Brandon saad, in his debut with St. Louis after signing as a free agent, scored in the first period.
Ivan barbachev and Michel frolik (also on a try) scored for St. Louis, City Husso made 10 saves without allowing a goal, and Charlie lindgren made 18 saves.
Adam Beckman scored twice for the Wild to tie it 2-2. Kaapo Kahkonen allowed two goals on eight shots. Andrew Hammond made 18 saves on 21 shots.
NHL.com Independent Correspondent Dave McCarthy contributed to this report