The first period started exactly the way that Leafs' fans wanted it to. Each line looked strong, and each of the kids looked fantastic.
But then, 12 minutes in to the first period, it was William Nylander making a great move to get the puck deep into the Sens' zone and create a great chance for the Leafs. Then, Zach Hyman, doing some great work down low, flipped a pass out front to none other than Auston Matthews, who scored on his third shift of his NHL career to open the scoring, and a new era, for the Leafs.
Living up to the hype in a big way. pic.twitter.com/zXGyYEvLpA— NHL (@NHL) October 12, 2016
Marner almost made it 2-0 halfway through the period when he deftly took a pass on his off wing and still managed to stay onside, ripping a shot off the crossbar behind Andersen. Marner had a tough angle and little time to get the shot away, and clearly surprised Anderson.
Bobby Ryan ties the game pic.twitter.com/51EjpCNecS— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 12, 2016
The Sens picked up the go-ahead goal just over two minutes later as Erik Karlsson took a slapper from the point that deflected off a Leaf stick, bounced off the ice, and fooled Andersen. Tough break.
Then, things got really fun. Matthews did this:
Matthews 2nd career NHL goal pic.twitter.com/pqKGJBo6hh— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 12, 2016
Sens 2, Matthews 2 pic.twitter.com/7Bf4CFYNIg— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 12, 2016
Guy's played for 20 minutes and he's already out of control. pic.twitter.com/ghlT3uhdEu— NHL (@NHL) October 13, 2016
Oh my. I'll pause here and let you just absorb that for a minute.
And we're back.
The Leafs looked strong through the rest of the period, killing a penalty, but also getting the majority of shot attempts.
The shots on goal were 13-9 for the Sens after 20 minutes, but it was the Leafs who looked like the better team.
Before the second period got underway, we learned that Matt Hunwick would not return to the game.
Matt Hunwick is done for the night. He was cut above his right eye after taking a hard hit from Chris Neil in the first period.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 13, 2016
Less than a minute and thirty seconds into the second period, Matthews made it a hat trick.
hat trick for Matthews pic.twitter.com/bpySQgRkTB— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 13, 2016
Matthews 3, Sens 2 pic.twitter.com/KFAvpYE5zi— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 13, 2016
That's right, Matthews scored a hat trick in his first game.
The Leafs proceeded to dominate most of the period, forcing the Sens to take multiple penalties (including one from former Leafs' Captain Dion Phaneuf).
The Sens did manage to tie it up though, on a great effort by new Sen Derrick Brassard and a poor save selection by Andersen:
Brassard ties the game 3-3 pic.twitter.com/kwxBWuc8GH— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 13, 2016
BUT WAIT. WITH THREE SECONDS LEFT IN THE SECOND PERIOD, THIS HAPPENED:
first player to ever score 4 goals in his NHL debut pic.twitter.com/X9o5uqvpBn— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 13, 2016
nice pass from Nylander to set up the 4th goal pic.twitter.com/BzURUSCfIh— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 13, 2016
THAT'S RIGHT. MATTHEWS BECAME THE FIRST PLAYER IN NHL HISTORY TO SCORE FOUR GOALS IN A DEBUT GAME. FOUR GOALS.
OK, I'm going to try to calm down, but I probably won't be successful.
The third period got off to a rocky start. Nylander took a penalty and the Sens had several decent looks at the net. Then, Martin Marincin let off the gas just a little too soon on a play that would otherwise have been called icing, and with a quick pass, Mark Stone found Kyle Turris sitting all alone in front - Marincin couldn't get there in time.
tie game yet again, 4-4 thanks to Turris pic.twitter.com/PiOjS4kZJe— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 13, 2016
The Leafs and Sens traded chances through the third period, but the Leafs got the better of the two teams, out-shooting Ottawa 10-8 in the final frame and 38-29 through regulation.
This one needed OT.
The Leafs sent Morgan Rielly out with Matthews and Nylander to start overtime, but the Sens ruined the whole darn party when Turris scored his second of the game to win it.
Turris OT winner pic.twitter.com/OBY4wZm1N9— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 13, 2016
The ugly truth is that Matthews should have had Turris on that play, but it's pretty hard to criticize the guy after this game.
A few thoughts on individual players (but I'm still on too much of a Matthews-high to be very specific):
- Auston Matthews, enough said.
- Mitch Marner was unbelievable tonight. Matthews wound up with the hat trick, but it could almost just as easily been Marner who stole the show. He was fantastic all over the ice.
- William Nylander looked great tonight, and Matthews' wing is the perfect place for him. I can't wait to watch more of him.
- Nikita Zaitsev looked great all game. He skated the puck deep into the offensive zone on multiple occasions and looked good doing it. In his own end, his quick stick was put to good use, and I can't recall once seeing him out of position. He looked like a solid NHL player tonight.
- Connor Brown took a questionable penalty in the first period but apart from that was just nails all night. He plays like a man who is much bigger.
- Peter Holland also had a great night. I can't remember the last time the Leafs' fourth line wasn't terrible.
- Matt Martin fought a guy and took a dumb penalty. When he was on the ice, he didn't look bad, though.
- Frederik Andersen will probably want to forget tonight. Five goals against is a tough night by any goalie's standards, but the stinker he let in on the Brassard goal will be the lowlight for him. He made some great saves tonight as well, but he'll need to be better in the future.
- The Kadri line looked good all night, even though they didn't find the scoresheet. They give the Leafs three effective forward lines to work with and that's tough on any defence corps.
- Zach Hyman seems like a great fit for Matthews' left wing. Let's keep him there a while.