It was a very good night for the Toronto Marlies. Well, former Marlies.
Goalie Ben Scrivens, centre Nazem Kadri and defenceman Mike Kostka — all of whom were key performers for the Maple Leafs' top farm team — helped the big club get off to a winning start in this lockout-shortened season.
Kadri scored in the first period and was named the game's third star in the Leafs' 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. (The Marlies, by the way, beat Montreal's farm team in Hamilton 3-2 in a shootout.)
Kostka played a dominating game on defence, assisting on Kadri's goal but also making some nice stick plays in his own zone to break up Montreal's puck possession.
And Scrivens turned aside 21 of 22 shots for his first win in the Bell Centre, one that came with considerable pressure since it was the first game of the year.
"I know what all these guys can do," Kadri said of the Marlies that have graduated with him to the Leafs. "It didn't surprise me (Scrivens) stood on his head and made some great saves. He battles — that's all you can look for in a goaltender."
Tyler Bozak scored the other Toronto goal. Brian Gionta ended Scrivens' shutout bid toward the midway mark of the third period.
If Kostka was nervous, he didn't show it. An AHL journeyman, he made his NHL debut in the game at age 27, calling it "everything and more" than he expected.
Toronto Maple Leafs beat Montreal Canadiens in NHL opener
Toronto Star | Jan 20