Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler (26) attempts the shot on his knees against Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) and Raphael Diaz (61) in the second period of the inaugural game at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
WINNIPEG - The NHL returned to Winnipeg with a cold reminder of the challenge that lies ahead.
Carey Price stopped 30 shots and the Montreal Canadiens put a damper on a massive civic celebration with a 5-1 victory over the Jets on Sunday.
The return of big-league hockey to the city had fans celebrating in the streets hours before the puck was dropped and horns honking outside the MTS Centre throughout the afternoon. Virtually everyone was decked out in Jets gear—both new and old.
With so much of the focus on the anticipation surrounding the NHL's return after 15 years, the performance of the team itself almost seemed secondary. But that changed in a hurry with a sloppy game by the Jets that suggested they have plenty of work to do to become the playoff team coach Claude Noel believes they can be.
Mike Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec, Yannick Weber, Travis Moen and Max Pacioretty scored for the opportunistic Canadiens, who bounced back from a 2-0 loss in Toronto to open the season.
Nik Antropov replied for Winnipeg. As the Atlanta Thrashers last season, the franchise finished 12th in the Eastern Conference. All but four players from that team were in the Jets' lineup Sunday.
EDMONTON (AP)—Ales Hemsky scored the shootout winner and the Edmonton Oilers started off the season with a win.
Rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the tying goal with less than five minutes left in regulation for the Oilers.
Kris Letang scored for the Penguins, who were without Evgeni Malkin. The centre left after the pregame skate with what appeared to be a lower body injury.
Both teams hit posts in overtime, but couldn't score.