Montreal's Carey Price said he can already see improvement by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
John E. Sokolowski/John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Spo
The result looked the same for the Maple Leafs following the first game of the season: another year, another loss. But according to Montreal goalie Carey Price, the actual Toronto product on the ice is showing improvement.
Price stopped 36 of 37 Toronto shots to help the Canadiens to a 3-1 opening night win, but he said the Leafs are clearly knuckling down within new coach Mike Babcock's system.
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“You can see [the Leafs] are on the same page,” Price told reporters. “They didn’t give us a lot coming up the ice. I’m sure they’re going to get better at that as the year progresses. They definitely played a strong game. They’re strong on the puck. I definitely expect them to have a stronger season this year.”
Price's sentiment was echoed in numerous columns in Toronto papers Thursday morning, as writers praised the Leaf's loss as a small step forward and a sign of good things to come. Although the Leafs are still new to Babcock's style of coaching, they cleaned up as far as some small mistakes go, committing just four giveaways throughout their first three periods of action in 2015-16. That number was far fewer than Montreal's nine giveaways.
The small signs of improvement are there early, and that's good news for a squad where every job is on the line as Toronto commits to a full organizational rebuild starting this season.