Montreal at Toronto

Canadiens open season with three straight road wins

CBS wire reports

TORONTO -- Mike Ribeiro made up for three missed scoring chances.

Ribeiro scored with 4:27 left to help the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on Saturday night for their third straight road victory of the season and first 3-0-0 start in 27 years.

"I was 1-for-4 on scoring chances," Ribeiro said. "It's about time I finally scored. ... We showed some character tonight, we lost the lead twice in the game and came back. And (captain) Saku (Koivu) really showed why he's a leader."

Ribeiro, standing alone beside the net, tapped in a cross-ice pass from defenseman Andrei Markov for the winner.

"It was an exciting game," Montreal coach Claude Julien said. "We had a lot of mental errors, we looked tired at times. But we found a way to come back and score some big goals. That showed character and determination."

Koivu set up the tying goal with 6:56 remaining, skating around the Leafs' zone at will before taking a shot that was stopped by Ed Belfour, only for Steve Begin to pop in the rebound.

"It's something to build on," Koivu said. "We have a young team and a lot of rookies. For us to win games late is really something for our confidence. We're not quitting. We're not playing our best but we're finding a way."

Sheldon Souray, Alexander Perezhogin and Niklas Sundstrom also scored for the Canadiens in only their third victory at Air Canada Centre. Koivu and Alexei Kovalev added two assists apiece for Montreal, which last opened with three wins in 1978-79.

Toronto defensemen Aki Berg and Wade Belak were on the ice for the tying and winning goals.

"Our defensive zone coverage cost us the other night (against Ottawa) and it cost us tonight," Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said. "It's an area that clearly we're not handling very well right now. We were losing battles for loose pucks, we weren't strong in our end."

The Canadiens gave up a 3-2 lead in the third period on goals by Matt Stajan and Nik Antropov and were staring at their first defeat of the season before Begin and Ribeiro scored 2:29 apart to take two points from the Maple Leafs.

Alexander Steen scored his first NHL goal for Toronto, and Tie Domi also scored for the Maple Leafs, playing without injured captain Mats Sundin (fractured orbital bone).


  • Koivu played in his 500th career game.
  • The Canadiens outshot Toronto 25-20.
  • Montreal was 2-for-4 on the power play, while Toronto was 1-for-6.
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Maple Leafs goalie Ed Belfour concedes two third-period goals which prove costly in the end. (AP)
Maple Leafs goalie Ed Belfour concedes two third-period goals which prove costly in the end. (AP)
Montreal  (3-0-0) «0325
Toronto (0-1-1)0224
Three Stars
S. Koivu

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
E. Lindros

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
A. Kovalev

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2

Related Video

Scoring Summary
08:57Power Play - Alexander Perezhogin (2), Wrist Shot - Assists: Saku Koivu and Alexei Kovalev
11:29Alexander Steen, Snap Shot - Unassisted.
12:39Tie Domi, Wrist Shot - Assists: Chad Kilger and Kyle Wellwood
13:16Niklas Sundstrom, Slap Shot - Assists: Radek Bonk and Jan Bulis
14:50Power Play - Sheldon Souray, Slap Shot - Assists: Alexei Kovalev and Mark Streit
02:27Power Play - Matt Stajan, Slap Shot - Assists: Eric Lindros and Ken Klee
10:38Nik Antropov, Snap Shot - Assist: Eric Lindros
13:04Steve Begin, Wrist Shot - Assist: Saku Koivu
15:33Mike Ribeiro, Tip-In - Assists: Andrei Markov and Christopher Higgins
Penalty Summary
01:29Bonk: Tripping - 2 min.
02:57Souray: Delaying Game - 2 min.
10:52Ponikarovsky: High sticking - 4 min.
02:51Ribeiro: Tripping - 2 min.
04:38Bouillon: Hooking - 2 min.
07:21Berg: Tripping - 2 min.
14:22Kaberle: Hooking - 2 min.
15:41Bonk: Hooking - 2 min.
01:18Begin: Too Many Men on the Ice(bench) - 2 min.
Montreal5713 25
Toronto479 20
Attendance - 19410
Game Time - 60:00
Referees - Tim Peel, Kevin Pollock
Line Judges - Scott Driscoll, Brad Kovachik
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