William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs managed a narrow victory on Wednesday night against the Montreal Canadiens, courtesy of an overtime goal from Morgan Rielly.
Nylander scored two goals and assisted on another in the game, while John Tavares also managed to rack up three points, by way of a single goal and two helpers. Seven other Maple Leafs recorded a single point in a game where both teams looked rusty and unorganized.
Both teams combined for 4 goals on 7 powerplay chances, with the Leafs killing just 2 of 3 penalties against them. While Toronto’s powerplay was expected to be a force to be reckoned with, it’s their penalty kill that is most concerning for some. They’ve been in the bottom 3rd of the league for years now and nothing is expected to change this season. Hopefully there’s a new system and the players are simply going through a learning curve, but the initial look does not instill confidence.
This will be the first game of the year for the Ottawa Senators. A team that will look to get off on the right foot by way of a physical game and dogged puck pursuit (I assume).
After a summer of change it’s going to be interesting to see what type of performance the Sens can put in. They upgraded their goaltending by acquiring two time Stanley Cup Champion, Matt Murray, as well as their centre position by way of Derek Stepan. They signed Evgenii Dadonov to add some scoring and traded for the likes of Erik Gudbranson, Auston Watson, Josh Brown and Brayden Coburn to add size and grit. On top of that they’ll have Tim Stuetzle making his NHL debut, while top prospect, Josh Norris, is set to begin his rookie campaign. Add all of that to returnees like Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot, Drake Batherson and Connor Brown and you can see that the Senators are trending in the right direction.
In other words the Leafs will have to stay on their toes tonight.
Just a little reminder as to what those lines looked like:
And, lastly, Coach Keefes thoughts on not changing the lines/lineup, even though the team didn’t look great against Montreal on Wednesday:
Enjoy the game!! GO LEAFS GO!!