NHL Hockey

2
Final 1 2 3 Tot
Toronto 0 0 2 2
Ottawa 3 0 0 3
3
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET20:00 BRT, October 14, 2021
Canadian Tire Centre, Kanata, Ontario  Attendance: 15,159

Leafs go for two in a row as Senators open season

Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators

  1. Toronto was 5-2-2 against Ottawa last season, with the teams combining for 67 goals across the nine games (an average of 7.4 combined goals per game). The winning team scored at least four goals in six of the nine games.
  2. The Maple Leafs began their season with a 2-1 home win over the Canadiens last night, their fifth straight season-opening win.They went 1-for-3 on the power play last night -- last season they were 16-3-4 when scoring a PPG, seventh best in the league.
  3. William Nylander scored for Toronto last night, his second straight season-opener with a goal and fifth straight with a point. Nylander has 31 points (11g, 20a) in 36 career games in the month of October.
  4. The Senators finished last season with a 23-28-5 record, missing the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season. Prior to this run, they hadn't missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons since doing so in their first four years as a franchise (1992-93 -- 1995-96).
  5. Brady Tkachuk signed a seven-year contract to keep him in Ottawa for the foreseeable future. Tkachuk is the fifth player in franchise history to begin his career with three straight 35+ point seasons (Yashin, Havlat, Alfredsson, Meszaros).
  6. Tkachuk led the league in fights last season with seven, and also finished second in the league in shots on goal with 220, two behind Toronto's Auston Matthews, who is still recovering from wrist surgery. Shots on goal have been tracked since 1959-60 -- since then, Tkachuk is the first player ever to rank in the top two of both SOG and fights.

The Toronto Maple Leafs won their season opener on Wednesday and will be out to spoil the first game of the season for the host Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell made 31 saves Wednesday as Toronto defeated the visiting Montreal Canadiens 2-1.

Petr Mrazek will start in net for Toronto on Thursday.

Campbell might have won the Wednesday game in the first few minutes with several stellar saves during Montreal's fast start.

"He was on fire," said Maple Leafs right winger William Nylander, who scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at 1:06 of the third period. "It could have been 2-0, 3-0 from the start. We came out pretty slow."

There was a large crowd in Toronto for the first time since March 2020 thanks to the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions. Fans still had to be fully vaccinated.

"It was fun," Campbell said. "To have everybody back in the building, it was electric. I think the crowd gave us an advantage to get the two points."

A key to the game was Montreal's failure to score on a five-on-three power play early in the third period, with Toronto defenseman Justin Holl contributing a sprawling shot block.

"I think I should have had that seam in the first place, so that probably never should have happened," Holl said. "But it always feels good to make a big play for the team."

The Senators will be without left winger Brady Tkachuk, a restricted free agent who has yet to sign, on Thursday.

Even if a deal were reached before the game, Senators coach D.J. Smith said that the 22-year-old would not be ready to play Thursday despite the fact that he has been skating in Ann Arbor, Mich., while missing training camp.

"He's not going to be playing in the opening game," Smith said Tuesday. "It's two days from now and he's still in the (United) States. We've got to go without him. Someone's going to have to step up and be better. Someone who wasn't in the lineup is going to be in the lineup."

Smith said it would probably take Tkachuk seven to 10 days before he would be ready to play.

"No matter where you skate, and if you're not skating with NHL players, it takes you a little bit to get up and to get going," Smith said. "I wouldn't want to put him in a bad spot, but if he's here, he's a pretty good player. As soon as we can get him in, we can get him in shape and then we can get him going."

Thomas Chabot and Artem Zub have established themselves as Ottawa's top defense pair with Nick Holden and Nikita Zaitsev likely to form the second duo.

In Tkachuk's absence, Tim Stutzle could be on the first line with Josh Norris and Drake Batherson.

Nick Paul, Shane Pinto and Connor Brown are expected to form the second line.

Injuries to Colin White, Austin Watson and Clark Bishop forced some decisions on the third and fourth lines. Parker Kelly, who signed to a two-year contract extension Tuesday, will be in the mix with Logan Shaw, Zach Sanford, Scott Sabourin and possibly Tyler Ennis.

Matt Murray is the Senators' No. 1 goaltender, but he has been dealing with a non-COVID illness this week, so Anton Forsberg could start Thursday.

--Field Level Media

Updated October 14, 2021

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