Anahim Lake’s Carey Price turned aside 32 shots, and stopped all three Toronto Maple Leafs in a shootout to help the Montreal Canadiens to their first win of the 2019/20 NHL season Saturday night.
Price and the Canadiens rallied for a come-from-behind 6-5 road victory in a wild third period that saw Toronto blow a 4-1 lead.
Price stopped three Maple Leaf stars in the shootout: Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and John Tavares, while Paul Byron scored the game winner.
Toronto appeared to have the game in hand when William Nylander made it 4-1 just 5:15 into the third period on a power play, but Montreal answered back 11 seconds later when Jonathan Drouin’s pass went in off Leafs defenceman Morgan Riley.
Brendan Gallagher added a goal to make it 4-3 moments later, before a Jeff Petry penalty shot tied the game at 4-4 13 minutes into the final frame. Phillip Danault then put the Canadiens up 5-4 after pouncing on a rebound with 4:40 left as Montreal scored four times in less than 10 minutes.
But Matthews tied the game with 75 seconds left on the clock to force the overtime frame and, ultimately, the shootout where Price shut the door and Paul Byron scored for Toronto to put the contest on ice.
The win was also the Canadiens first of the season in just two outings after dropping a 4-3 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, Oct. 3.
Also in attendance in Toronto Saturday was 11-year-old Anderson Whitehead, who was surprised by Price last season when the two met in an emotional meeting after Anderson’s mom died of cancer. It was Anderson’s mom’s dying wish for her son to meet Price, who later also surprised Anderson during the NHL Awards banquet.
Anderson said during a Sportsnet TV interview prior to Saturday’s game he has kept in touch with Price since.
– With files from The Canadian Press