Thursday's NHL playoffs: Canadiens beat Maple Leafs 2-1; Tavares injured early

Associated Press

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. Tavares gave a thumbs-up as he left the ice. Toronto newcomer Nick Foligno then fought Perry immediately after the faceoff.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares (91) is helped on to a stretcher after being injured in a collision with Montreal Canadiens forward Corey Perry (94) during the first period of Game 1.

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.

More NHL playoffs

Panthers 6, Lightning 5 (OT): Ryan Lomberg scored on a breakaway 5:56 into overtime to cap a furious comeback and give the Florida Panthers a 6-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night in Game 3 of the first-round Central Division playoff matchup.

The Panthers cut the Lightning's lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series by scoring twice in the third period, killing off a penalty at the start overtime and winning it.

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.

The Lightning took a 5-3 lead into the final period. But the reigning Stanley Cup champions couldn't put the Panthers away, yielding a power-play goal to Patric Hornqvist early in the third and Gustav Forsling's equalizer with 3:07 remaining.

Game 4 is Saturday at Amalie Arena.

Penguins 5, Islanders 4: Brandon Tanev scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:36 left and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Islanders 5-4 in Game 3 on Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.

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.

Golden Knights 5, Wild 2: Reilly Smith capped a three-goal second-period surge by the Vegas Golden Knights with the go-ahead score in a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild to grab the lead Thursday night in this first-round playoff series.

Mark Stone had two goals, Patrick Brown and William Karlsson also scored, Nick Holden had two assists and Marc-Andre Fleury picked up another postseason win after a rough start in the net for the Golden Knights, who went up 2-1 in this West Division matchup.

Game 4 is in Minnesota on Saturday night.