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Tomas Plekanec scores with 43 seconds left, Canadiens beat Maple Leafs 4-3 in opener

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TORONTO — Tomas Plekanec and the Montreal Canadiens bounced back after giving up a late tying goal to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

And they did it with a fortunate bounce.

Plekanec banked a shot off Toronto defenseman Stuart Percy's skate with 43 seconds left to give Montreal a 4-3 victory Wednesday night in their season opener. Plekanec scored his second goal of the game after Morgan Rielly tied it for Toronto with 2:19 to play.

"These things happen, and it's how you respond to it," Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban said. "It happened to us a few times last year and I thought we responded well. We're a resilient group in here. It doesn't surprise me that we came right back."

Subban and Max Pacioretty also scored for Montreal and Carey Price made 24 saves.

"It's even better to win these games when you play the right way, and I thought we did a lot of things well," Subban said. "Still some areas we have to clean up, but I thought executing some new things in our game plan, I thought we did that very, very well today. ... We had everybody involved today. "Our forwards definitely should feel confident right now with the way they're putting the puck in the net."

Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak added goals for Toronto and Jonathan Bernier stopped 28 shots.

PHOTO: Montreal Canadiens' Rene Bourque looks on as Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier makes a save during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,  Frank Gunn )
Montreal Canadiens' Rene Bourque looks on as Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier makes a save during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn )

"In the first period we did a good job of making them dump pucks, keeping them slowed down in the neutral zone, which gives us more time moving the puck out of our zone," Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said. "When we stopped moving our feet, that's when we got into trouble."

Plekanec tied it at 2 at 4:34 of the second period, beating Bernier with a backhander.

Subban gave the Canadiens the lead at 8:41 of the third period with a shot from the high slot.

Pacioretty opened the scoring at 4:42 of the first period, skating around Phaneuf and beating Bernier through the legs for the first goal of the NHL season.

"The first shot they got went in the net," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. "It kind of took a little bit of wind out of our sails."

Brandon Kozun, making his NHL debut, set up the tying goal at 8:04 of the first, firing a shot that Kadri deflected past Price. Percy, also playing his first NHL game, set up Bozak's power-play goal that gave Toronto a 2-1 lead with 38 seconds left in the period.

"I thought there were times out there where we played really well," Kozun said. "The first period I thought we had something going, parts of the third, but I think there was a bunch in the second period where the team in general couldn't sustain anything."

Notes: Montreal winger Jiri Sekac made his NHL debut. ... The first three Toronto players on Legends Row — Darryl Sittler, Johnny Bower and the late Ted Kennedy — were honored before the game. Sittler, Bower and Kennedy's son, Mark, dropped pucks for the ceremonial faceoff.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec celebrates a goal during second-period NHL hockey game action against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese)
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