Leafs outlast Canadiens in September-style opener

The Leafs celebrate after doubling their early lead Saturday night in Montreal. (QMI Agency)

The Leafs celebrate after doubling their early lead Saturday night in Montreal. (QMI Agency)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:35 PM ET

MONTREAL - The Canadiens theme this season is to Pass The Torch, the Maple Leafs to Burn The Boats.

But it was the hometown Habs who were scorched in a wonky start to the National Hockey League’s half season, with Ben Scrivens being good -- and lucky -- the Leafs hung on for a 2-1 win Saturday night.

You could almost see the bits of rust on the ice as the teams played loosey-goosey, September-style hockey in the middle of January.

It was just one game of 48, but Toronto coach Randy Carlyle’s flaming boat analogy about adventurers who leave themselves no escape but victory, made some kind of impression. The Leafs played just enough shutdown hockey, had their special teams in gear and Scrivens survived some rough patches for the win. It puts him a leg up on James Reimer, who was judged too wooden to be ready in comparison to the game-sharp minor leaguer. Scrivens made 21 saves.

This was the first time in 287 days that the Leafs and Habs played a real match, going back to


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