NEWS

NHL: Best Things From Opening Night

10/09/2014 01:52 EDT | Updated 12/08/2014 05:59 EST
Harry How via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Antti Niemi #31 of the San Jose Sharks stretches during the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on October 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Hockey is officially back.

The NHL’s opening night featured four games highlighted by the storied rivalry between the Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, a battle which Montreal pulled out in the final minute.

The league’s curtain raiser also saw the Vancouver Canucks take out the Calgary Flames in a Western Conference clash.

Here are some of the best things from opening night:

Habs snap Leafs' season-opening dominance

Prior to the game the Leafs' brass decided to let the capacity crowd at Air Canada Centre sing O Canada rather than bring in a performer. Once the game started it took exactly 4:42 for Leaf fans to get on defenceman Dion Phaneuf, who was beaten badly by Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty before the Montreal forward beat Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier on a bad-angle shot. In the end, the Habs got a late goal with 43 seconds left from forward Tomas Plekanec to beat the Leafs 4-3. Montreal also snapped a four-game losing streak in season openers to Toronto.

Sedins, Vrbata too much for Flames

The Sedin twins and new linemate Radim Vrbata proved too much for the Calgary Flames. The new line combined for four points, including the game-winning goal by Vrbata, and the Canucks skated to a 4-2 win over the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Vrbata's goal at 11:07 of the second period was initially waived off because of a high-stick, but he was given the goal after review. The victory was Vancouver's 10th over its rival in the last 11 meetings.The game was sealed by a beautiful one-handed empty-net goal by Henrik Sedin.

 

Sharks spoil Kings' Stanley Cup banner night

The celebration kept on going for the defending champion Los Angeles Kings. Two days ago, players received their Stanley Cup rings. On Wednesday night, minutes before squaring off against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center, the team raised its banner in a pre-game ceremony. Even Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers was on hand to snap a shot of Lord Stanley's banner. However, the celebration did little to intimidate the Sharks. In fact, San Jose smoked the champs 4-0 on the strength of two goals by Tommy Wingels.

Kelly lifts Bruins over Flyers

The Boston Bruins, one of the Eastern Conference contenders expected to challenge for a spot in the Stanley Cup final, got their season off to a great start after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 at TD Garden. The game appeared to be heading into overtime when Chris Kelly banged home a rebound behind Flyers goaltender Steve Mason with 1:51 remaining.