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Nylander and Leafs credit Simmonds tilt for sparking win on opening night

The big man can still chuck 'em!

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The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens officially renewed their rivalry last night on Hockey Night in Canada and... well what would a rivalry game be without a good scrap?

Leafs free agent signing Wayne Simmonds dropped the gloves in his first game with his new team and he acquitted himself juuuuust fine taking on Canadiens defenceman Ben Chiarot.

Check it out:


After the game Simmonds' teammates credited his fight with giving the team the spark it needed to pull out a comeback in the third period, which ultimately led to winning the game in overtime.

"That was the turning point of the game, for sure," William Nylander said after the 5-4 win. "He got the boys fired up. I think we were a little soft and slow in the beginning."


"He's incredibly valuable to this team and we're very, very lucky to have him," defenseman Morgan Rielly said. "He brings a whole lot of aspects of great things to our team in the way that he's able to play."


The 32 year old Simmonds signed a one year, $1.5 million free agent contract with the Leafs this past offseason and knows that he'll be counted on to provide his new team with some of the veteran toughness that it has lacked in recent campaign.

"I felt good," he said. "It was my first real game action in 10 months, 28 days, and I could probably tell you to the second. I thought the boys needed a bit of a spark there. I know my role on this team. I asked Chiarot ... and it was green light go."


Here's hoping the steady veteran continues to bring some swagger to the Leafs' lineup this season.