TORONTO (AP)Paul Byron broke a tie with a short-handed goal from his knees with 7:16 left and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Thursday night in Game 1 of the first-round series between Original Six rivals.
The game was marred by an early collision that sent Toronto captain John Tavares off the ice on a stretcher to a hospital.
Tavares crashed into Montreal’s Ben Chiarot 10:29 into the first period and was hit in the head by Corey Perry’s knee as he fell. Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said Tavares was conscious and communicating well and would remain hospitalized overnight to undergo further tests.
Toronto newcomer Nick Foligno fought Perry immediately after the faceoff to resume play.
Montreal stunned Toronto with the short-handed winner. With Tomas Tatar off for high-sticking and the Maple Leafs looking to take the lead, Byron raced past Rasmus Sandin, with the rookie defenseman dragging down the Montreal forward. From his knees, Byron then chipped the puck past goalie Jack Campbell.
Carey Price made 35 saves and Josh Anderson had a first-period goal for the Canadiens. They finished the regular season fourth in the all-Canadian North Division, 18 points behind the first-place Maple Leafs.
William Nylander tied it for Toronto early in the second, and Campbell made 28 saves in his playoff debut.
Game 2 is Saturday night in Toronto. The teams last met in the playoffs in 1979.
PANTHERS 6, LIGHTNING 5, OT
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Ryan Lomberg scored on a breakaway 5:56 into overtime to cap a furious comeback and lift Florida past Tampa Bay in Game 3.
Radko Gudas gained possession off a faceoff deep in his own zone and flicked the puck ahead to Lomberg, who barreled in on goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to cut the Lightning’s lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
The Lightning took a 5-3 lead into the final period, then yielded a power-play goal to Patric Hornqvist early in the third and Gustav Forsling’s equalizer with 3:07 remaining.
Gudas, Alex Wennberg, Sam Bennett also scored for Florida. Sergei Bobrovsky, a 5-4 loser in Game 1, replaced Chris Driedger at the start of the third period and stopped all nine shots he faced for the victory.
Brayden Point, Anthony Cirelli, Ross Colton, Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn scored for the Lightning.
Game 4 is Saturday at Amalie Arena.
PENGUINS 5, ISLANDERS 4
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) – Brandon Tanev broke a tie with 3:36 left and Pittsburgh beat New York in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead.
Jeff Carter scored twice, Kris Letang had a goal and two assists, and Jason Zucker also scored for the Penguins. Tristan Jarry stopped 26 shots.
Cal Clutterbuck scored twice, Scott Mayfield had a goal and two assists, and Anthony Beauvillier also scored for New York. Semyon Varlamov finished with 22 saves.
Game 4 is Saturday at Nassau Coliseum.
The capacity was expanded to 6,250 fans for the Islanders’ first home playoff game since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Carolina on April 28, 2019.
GOLDEN KNIGHTS 5, WILD 2
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Reilly Smith capped Vegas’ three-goal second-period surge with the go-ahead score to help the Golden Knights take a 2-1 series lead over Minnesota.
Mark Stone had two goals, Patrick Brown and William Karlsson also scored, Nick Holden had two assists and Marc-Andre Fleury made 14 saves.
Ryan Hartman and Joel Eriksson Ek scored for the Wild.
Game 4 is Saturday night in St. Paul.