The Toronto Maple Leafs began the season with a 4-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens last night, but played much better in their home opener.
The Leafs opened their home season with a brief introduction of the players and scouting staff, and a nod to injured and recently signed prospect Fraser Minten and prospect Rodian Amirov, who is in Toronto finishing his cancer treatment. Very nice to include those players.
Rodion Amirov is here pic.twitter.com/NEtkjj6XfH— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 13, 2022
The game pace is quick off the draw, with new Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov being forced to make saves right away.
Glove save through traffic— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 13, 2022
nice start for Samsonov pic.twitter.com/LuTBmSVf0x
After taking four last night, the Maple Leafs continue their march to the penalty box with Calle Järnkrok being called for holding. The Leafs and Capitals trade chances, with Mitch Marner being stopped by Charlie Lindgren and Ovechkin hitting the post. No goals scored.
Marner picks up the drop pass then uses Kuznetsov as a pylon pic.twitter.com/a8rpci68dE— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 13, 2022
The Maple Leafs get a power play in return, when Nic Dowd gets into Auston Matthews way and is called for interference. The Leafs power play does an excellent job, and John Tavares scores the first home goal of the season, giving the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead
JOHN TAVARES— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 13, 2022
The captain strikes on the powerplay pic.twitter.com/7EBoc3Ajuw
The Maple Leafs are playing a much better game mid-way through the first period. Fewer turnovers, better control and as I type this the Capitals tie the game. Nic Dowd gets the tying goal, making up for his penalty that got the Leafs theirs.
lol this is what Hathaway is going off about pic.twitter.com/57YawOpZb6— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
The Maple Leafs were paying too much attention to Garnett Hathaway causing trouble and faking injuries, and were pulled out of position, helping lead to the goal.
this is what started it all— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
the first hit on Matthews from Hathaway and Bunting's attempted retaliation pic.twitter.com/r9RVx5jqdE
Rasmus Sandin is showing his lack of awareness from missing camp, just makes a bizarre play. Sandin, man, what's going on?
not the best passing choice imo pic.twitter.com/eDBXfsquSE— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
Marcus Johansson takes a light shot from the boards, and it goes in? Very weak play.
Marcus Johansson puts the Capitals ahead pic.twitter.com/UAOdAAZKrl— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
Capitals up 2-0.
William Nylander takes it personally and gets a breakaway off the face off, but can’t beat Lindgren.
As we enter the first five minutes, the Capitals get a tripping call and there’s another Leafs power play.
Leafs back to the PP after this trip on Matthews pic.twitter.com/f9RGi0LHAB— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
The Leafs power play does a great job surrounding the Capitals net and pounding on rebounds, but after a minute and no goal the Caps clear the puck repeatedly. No power play goal this time.
There’s a scramble at the Capitals net after a puck goes off the post but somehow Lindgren is able to keep it out of the net. Somehow.
Tavares came close to tying it as Malgin's shot goes off the post and the rebound comes out to the slot pic.twitter.com/HkzzN0M8El— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
As the clock ticks down, Marner and Engvall get a two on one, but Marner can’t get the pass off before it’s poked off his stick.
Marner, head up the whole way, tries to hook a pass around to Engvall on the odd-man rush pic.twitter.com/auxOZbmgsk— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
The first period ends, having felt like an entire game was played, and the score is 2-1 Washington, but shots are 22-11 for Toronto.
The second period begins as like the first, with Samsonov being forced to make a save right away. He did! All is well.
All gets better, when new Maple Leaf Calle Järnkrok scores his first for the team to tie the game at twos. Beautiful assist from Alexander Kerfoot.
CALLE JÄRNKROK— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
FIRST AS A LEAF! TIE GAME! pic.twitter.com/NpAbqdzFVU
The Maple Leafs are then given another power play when Garnett Hathaway is called for tripping. The Leafs do a good job setting up shots and controlling play with the man advantage but they can’t get the goal to give them the lead.
Jake Muzzin throwing the body on Hathaway pic.twitter.com/qk9FfDdtpl— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
After the Capitals penalty ends the Leafs pick up one of their own, Justin Holl for Holl-ding. The Leafs PK keeps the Capitals from setting up good plays, and keeps the game tied mid-way through the game.
Samsonov makes the initial save and covers the rebound pic.twitter.com/J8cSeZru6j— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
We get a bit of excitement in the final minute when Mitch Marner almost gives the Leafs the lead, but Lindgren makes the necessary saves. Gets the crowd on their feet and awake heading into intermission.
The Maple Leafs have slowed down significantly in the second period, getting just eight shots on net in the second period, while the Capitals had 11. After two the game is tied at two. Shots are 30-20 for Toronto.
a flying Willy Ny pic.twitter.com/RlQIDaJp87— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
The third period opens without the obligatory Samsonov save, and both teams come out a bit slower, trying to protect the tie.
Rasmus Sandin and John Tavares try to get the go-ahead goal, but Lindgren stays on top of his game.
Jake Muzzin passes to Kerfoot and...woosh.
Muzzin sets Kerfoot up for the tap-in— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
Kerfoot's reaction says it all pic.twitter.com/upMUCaRPyR
Mark Giordano is the hometown hero! The tie is broken seven minutes into the third period, and it’s now 3-2 Maple Leafs. Matthews got a piece of it, so Gio gets the assist, Matthews gets the goal.
AUSTON MATTHEWS— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
DEFLECTION GOAL! FIRST OF THE SEASON! pic.twitter.com/vpIHYzRaeX
Jake Muzzin then gets a penalty, and the SBA is very mad, boos rain down from the rafters but the refs don’t care. Capitals power play.
Muzzin called for Interference pic.twitter.com/2nK3YM4kxd— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
The Capitals don’t capitalize as well as they should, and Zach Aston-Reese and Calle Järnkrok team up for a two on one that doesn’t score but looks good while not doing it. No goal for the Capitals. Ten minutes remain in the game.
The Maple Leafs turn on the jets as the game ticks down to the final. Auston Matthews, Tavares, Nylander, all try to advance the league. Charlie Lindgren is earning his salary in this one game.
The crowd chants “MVP” for Matthews, everyone has woken up. Shots for Toronto are nearing 40 in this game.
Matthews obliterates Fehervary pic.twitter.com/GCI1FTYmz3— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
With less than four minutes to go the Capitals get another power play opportunity when NAK is called for slashing.
Mitch Marner tries for a shorthanded goal, the Leafs PK keeps the Capitals from being able to set up Alex Ovechkin, and with 30 seconds to go in the power play the Capitals pull the goalie.
Holl gets in front of an Ovechkin one-timer pic.twitter.com/S9ntxkBNdd— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
The Capitals swarm the Leafs net, and push hard to tie the game, but can’t finish on the power play. With 40 seconds left Mitch Marner is called for high-sticking TJ Oshie.
LOL okay, I know this is frustrating— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 14, 2022
but Marner's reaction to the high stick is hilarious pic.twitter.com/j8wtzFWsqF
Alex Ovechkin hasn’t left the ice since the first penalty was called, he’s trying to score, reach the goal record, but he’s getting sloppier as it goes on. No one can score.
Toronto Maple Leafs win their home opener 3-2 over the Washington Capitals!
The Maple Leafs now sit 1-1 on the season, undefeated at home.
Dull at times, a flurry of excitement at others, that’s Leafs hockey!
If I was to give out three stars?
1 - Charlie Lindgren. 36 saves on 39 shots. Good performance, saved the Capitals on many occasions.
2- Calle Järnkrok. Great game, scored his first Leafs goal.
3 - Maple Leafs game ops. You make my dreams come true.
The Leafs next game is Saturday at 7:00PM against the Ottawa Senators.