It was only 144 seconds of potential panic this time but Nazem Kadri could not tell a lie about the thoughts drifting up and down the visitor’s bench at the Bell Centre.
With a 4-2 lead late in the third period of a choppy game Tuesday night the Leafs were in danger of crashing their way into the new season the same way the previous one had ended with a thud.
Lars Eller had scored his second of the game at 17:38 of the third and suddenly a cruise-control win morphed into throat-constricting crunch time.
The stakes were much lower than Boston in May of course but opening night always holds its own special cache. So a big pad save by James Reimer in the final minute here and a lack of panic there and this time the Leafs escaped with a grinding 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Never pretty and at one point rather gruesome a third-period goal from Leafs newcomer Mason Raymond stood up as the game winner giving Toronto a fourth consecutive win over its Original Six rival.