The Senators at the Leafs was a solid season opener with some standout moments for both the new fish in the NHL as well as those who’ve been feeding in the same icy waters for a while now.
A quick spark set the game off, with Ottawa’s Brady Tkachuk making the best of a redirect and putting one passed Leafs netminder Frederik Anderson, 25-seconds into his shift.
Toronto’s Frédérik Gauthier answers early on in the second, with assists from Dmytro Timashov and Tyson Barrie. Trevor Moore pots another for the Leafs soon after.
With his third whats-my-name moment in under a month, Ottawa-unlikely Scott Sabourin scores his first NHL goal in the second period.
According to NHL PR, Sabourin, at 27 years of age, is the oldest player in Sens history to score a goal in his NHL debut. On a sidenote, this is the first time Sabourin has officially racked up more goals than fights in a league.
With the lead within their grasp, Ottawa defenseman Ron Hainsey would have a goal waved off after it was challenged due to being offside.
Seconds later, William Nylander sets up Auston Matthews with a beauty pass, allowing him to, coincidentally, follow up Sabourin’s goal with a beauty of his own. Seriously, there better be more people hoping for more from Matthews and Sabourin, despite how ridiculous the thought may be.
With just over five-minutes remaining in the second, the Marner-Matthews combo would deliver another one passed Craig Anderson of Ottawa with a blind-pass and a boomer.
With the pair of goals, Auston Matthews set a record of his own, becoming the fourth player in NHL history to score in four consecutive season openers.
Matthews joins the likes of Dit Clapper of the Boston Bruins who did it between 1927-28 – 1930-31, Dave Andreychuk with the Buffalo Sabres between 1982-83 – 1985-86, and Sergei Fedorov with the Detroit Red Wings between 1990-91 –1993-94. Each man to achieve the feat went on to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Early in the third period, Leafs-newcomer Ilya Mikheyev scores his first NHL goal. Sens winger Bobby Ryan would respond, with a shot through the five-hole of Frederik Andersen, but with 2:15 left, Toronto would get the win.
Matthews fell just a little short on the hat trick, pushing for a last-second empty-netter but was cut down before he was able to do so.
As for Scott Sabourin, he must be pleased to put a little proof in the pudding and to have positioned himself to a point where Matthews must be starting to kick himself over his initial preseason dig on the newcomer.
All in all, the Toronto Maple Leafs leave with a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators and we get to look forward to a whole new season.