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Toronto Maple Leafs win their home opener

A win at home is better than a loss on the road.

Washington Capitals v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

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.

The game pace is quick off the draw, with new Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov being forced to make saves right away.

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.

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

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.

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.

Rasmus Sandin is showing his lack of awareness from missing camp, just makes a bizarre play. Sandin, man, what's going on?

Marcus Johansson takes a light shot from the boards, and it goes in? Very weak play.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.