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Leafs begin season with shutout of Habs

Oct 7, 2011 - 3:22 AM
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - James Reimer made 32 saves and the Toronto Maple Leafs scored an early goal in each of the last two periods Thursday night to begin the season with a 2-0 shutout of the Montreal Canadiens.

It was the third straight year the NHL's oldest rivalry played as the season opener for both teams and the Maple Leafs have won the last two.

Matthew Lombardi and Dion Phaneuf scored for Toronto and Reimer, starting his second season in the NHL, picked up his fourth career shutout.

"As far as the team was concerned, there were a few jitters. I mean it's the first game of the season and the home opener. There's a lot of hype and a lot of energy so it's natural to have jitters," said Reimer.

"As far as myself, I didn't feel too many jitters. I was feeling it. I felt pretty good and when [pucks] did sneak through, I was able to get something on them."

Carey Price allowed two goals on 18 shots for the Canadiens.

The Maple Leafs began their quest to snap a six-year playoff drought, the longest in franchise history, with their first shutout in a season opener since 2002.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, were hoping to erase the memory of a first-round postseason loss to eventual Stanley Cup-champion Boston, but went 0-for-5 on the power play and let up a shorthanded goal to Lombardi 33 seconds into the middle period that counted as the game-winner.

"When you get shut out, it's always somewhat frustrating," said Canadiens forward Mike Cammalleri. "But I thought we did some really good things. The second period we had some lets downs, but I thought overall I felt pretty good about our game."

After missing the last 80 games of the 2010-11 season for Nashville, Lombardi scored his first regular season goal since April 10, 2010, when he played for Phoenix.

The 29-year-old forward suffered a concussion in the Predators' second game last year and didn't come back.

Price, who stopped four shots in a scoreless first period, was powerless on the 2-on-1 chance early in the second that ended in Lombardi's goal.

With Toronto defenseman Luke Schenn off on a boarding penalty, Lombardi started the rush up the left boards with Mike Brown joining him down the center.

Price stopped the first try, but Lombardi circled around the net and was left alone in front to rifle a high shot over the netminder, who was still sprawled on the ground.

The Maple Leafs failed to capitalize on a 5-on-3 opportunity in the final minutes of the second period, but doubled their lead in the first five minutes of the third.

Phaneuf took a short pass from Phil Kessel in the high slot and rifled a slap shot that beat Price high to the glove side at the 4:42 mark, giving Toronto its 2-0 lead.

Reimer, who was 20-10-5 in his 37-game rookie season, made 14 saves in the first and third periods and four in the second.

"I thought in the first period we got tremendously outplayed," said Toronto forward Dave Steckel. "If it wasn't for Reims, we would have been down 3 or 4 nothing."

Game Notes

Canadians defenseman Chris Campoli, who signed a one-year contract last week, was helped to the locker room late in the second period after going down awkwardly in a near-split in front of the Montreal net...The Canadians and Maple Leafs teams split six meetings last season, with both teams posting 2-1 records at home...Toronto won last year's season opener 3-2, while Montreal took a 4-3 victory in 2009. Those games were also played in Toronto...The Maple Leafs shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-0, to open the 2002 season.