Pavel Datsyuk and Mikael Samuelsson scored 36 seconds apart midway through the first period and the Detroit Red Wings held on to beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.
Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard turned the puck over, allowing Zemgus Girgensons to score in his NHL debut with 7:24 left in the game.
Howard tried to clear the puck from behind his net, but it hit Buffalo’s Brian Flynn and popped over the net to set up Girgensons’ backhander that pulled the Sabres within a goal.
Howard made 19 saves in Detroit’s debut in the Eastern Conference, playing an Atlantic Division game against the young Sabres.
Buffalo had a two-man power play for 1:31 early in the first period and for 51 seconds late in the second, but couldn’t take advantage. In between those 5-on-3 opportunities, the Sabres were held scoreless on three power plays.
Ryan Miller gave up goals on the fifth and sixth shots he faced and finished with 32 saves.
MAPLE LEAFS 3, FLYERS 1: Dave Bolland scored twice and Phil Kessel added a goal to lead Toronto over Philadelphia. The Maple Leafs, off to a 2-0 start, spoiled Philadelphia’s season opener one night after ruining Montreal’s. Jonathan Bernier stopped 31 shots for the Maple Leafs.
Toronto acquired Bolland and Bernier in the offseason to bolster their bid to get out of the first round and make a run in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Kessel, on his 26th birthday, scored one day after he signed a $64 million, eight-year extension. Brayden Schenn had the lone goal for the host Flyers. Bolland scored the go-ahead goal from the slot early in the third period.
It was his first goal since the Game 6 clincher for the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals. He sealed this win with a power-play goal with 22.5 seconds left.
The Flyers wasted a fantastic chance to go ahead when Wayne Simmonds was easily stopped on a penalty shot by Bernier with 3.1 seconds left in the second period.
AVALANCHE 6, DUCKS 1: Semyon Varlamov was sharp in making 35 saves, and Jamie McGinn scored two goals, leading Colorado over Anaheim in Patrick Roy’s successful coaching debut with the Avalanche.
Ryan O’Reilly, John Mitchell, Matt Duchene and Steve Downie added goals for the Avalanche, who improved to 19-8-7 on opening night. Top pick Nathan MacKinnon set up both of McGinn’s goals with no-look passes. Alex Tanguay, back with Colorado for the first time since the 2005-06 season, had three assists.
Varlamov stuffed the Ducks all evening but lost his bid for a shutout in the closing seconds when Jakob Silfverberg slipped a shot by him. Viktor Fasth struggled for Anaheim, allowing three goals in the second period. Things got heated after the final horn, with some players getting into a skirmish near the benches.
Even Roy got into the act as he jawed from behind the glass.