Auston Matthews returned to the Toronto Maple Leafs line up tonight, ending our long national nightmare.  However, a new one begins for the people who want 8 year olds to wear suits to their rec league games at 6AM:

Is this lack of tucked in shirts and ties an omen for a blowout loss?

Where it matters - on the ice - Auston Matthews comes out and starts the game like a horse in a hospital, just all over the place and no one knows what he’ll do.

After a minute of that, William Nylander is high sticked by Barclay Goodrow, and the Leafs get a power play early on. The Leafs take their time to set up shots, and boy did I miss guys yelling ”SHOOOOOOOT”. All that careful work doesn’t, uh, work, and two shots later we’re back at even strength.

Ondre Kaše blocks a shot, and takes the puck off his foot, sending him limping to the bench. The oft-injured forward stays true to who he is. Kaše does come back though.

The Leafs are just as jazzed to play an American team for the first time in almost two years as we are to watch a new opponent. The team is working well together on passing plays, they’re using the bodies well, and playing patient with the puck.

There’s a three or four pass sequence that almost gets Matthews his first of the season; the play was so well done I had to double check they weren’t on the power play.

It’s not all roses and sunshine, the Rangers are also playing well. Artemi Panarin almost gets the first of the game, but the posts did their job.

We get a pretty scary moment where the puck is sitting next to an empty net and no one knows where it is. Thankfully Dermott scoops it out of the crease before a Ranger can get to it. Had me worried.

Mika Zibanejad shoots from the top of the zone, and the put pings off the crossbar, to the post, and out. There’s a review to confirm, and the puck did cross the line on it’s travels, and it’s 1-0 Rangers.

The Maple Leafs fourth line almost ties it when Jason Spezza dances with the puck on a string, gets it to Simmonds, and Simmonds just misses getting the puck in behind Shesterkin.

Jacob Trouba gets called for high sticking Pierre Engvall, and the Maple Leafs second power play begins, William Nylander nearly scores, and the rebound leads to the Rangers getting a two on one that doesn’t score. The Leafs take that puck right back, and Nylander hits the post. A great 30 seconds of play right there.

The first period ends with the Rangers leading 1-0, the Leafs leading in shots 12-10, and hopefully the Leafs thinking about their sloppy d-zone play.

What they were thinking was “Hey, how can we get that new kid more goals?” Which is what happens almost immediately in the second period when Michael Bunting gets his second goal of the season.

That’s too much of a good thing for the Leafs, as Travis Dermott is sent to the box for tripping, giving the Rangers their first power play opportunity. Which they squander. No goals for them.

The second period continues on with some back and forth hockey, nothing exceptional happens, a couple close chances but that shot clock isn’t ticking up very high halfway through the period.

The Maple Leafs pound the net hard with pucks, John Tavares is set up to score when the refs blow the play dead and call the Leafs for too many men on the ice.

The Rangers power play just can’t cut it, Alex Kerfoot goes into the Rangers zone alone before it takes two defenders to stop him. No PP goal, still tied.

While the Leafs aren’t hitting posts with pucks much right now, they’re at least making the Rangers look silly.

Julian Gauthier gets called for hooking (not like that) and the Leafs get their third powerplay of the game. The Leafs play the patience game once again, but I’m getting a little impatient.  SHOOOOOOOOOOOOT! They did not, and no PP goal.

The second period ends, tied 1-1, but words get exchanged on the way off the ice.

The Maple Leafs aren’t giving Shesterkin an easy night, they hit 30 shots on goal before the Rangers are at 15, but the Rangers goalie isn’t giving in to the onslaught of shots - the onshlot - as the Leafs can’t get another one past him yet.

Well, if you can’t beat them on the scoreboard, just beat them into the boards.

Jack Campbell isn’t going cold with a lack of shots, he’s on top of his game (ᵉᵛᵉʳ ˢⁱⁿᶜᵉ ᵗʰᵃᵗ ᵗᵉʳʳⁱᵇˡᵉ ᵖˡᵃʸ ᵗʰᵃᵗ ˡᵉᵃᵈ ᵗᵒ ᵗʰᵉ ʳᵃⁿᵍᵉʳˢ ᵍᵒᵃˡ), making saves, making plays.

The refs finally feel like doing something, and they choose to even up the calls and give the Rangers their third powerplay by calling Jake Muzzin for hooking. Weird that each team has taken three penalties to this point and only three each.

Anyway, the Rangers don’t score again because they’re bad and the only good player they have is Shesterkin, clearly.

A lot of the actona seems to be between the plays, and involving Wayne Simmonds tonight, first Shesterkin goes after him after the first, and now Ryan Reeves is jawing at him.

The Rangers start pressing the offense as we get into the final few minutes of the third, but Campbell won’t let them take the lead.

The third period ends, and we’re off to overtime. The Leafs are so happy to not be playing a Canadian team they’re making the game last as long as possible.

The first minute is fine, but then we get Auston Matthews coming into the Rangers zone alone, doesn’t score but puts himself in the net while the Rangers take the puck back, Campbell makes the save, Nylander goes the other way and is stopped.

Whew, what a 20 seconds that was.

Marner sets up Matthews for his first of the season, but Shesterkin is determined not to let him score. TJ Brodie comes in to try and score on a breakaway, but Shesterkin comes to the slot to stop the puck, and makes a save from that position. Campbell gets the save that stops the play.

Sadly, off that faceoff the Rangers score.

Game over. 2-1 New York.

The Maple Leafs absolutely deserved that win, but it’s a game of luck and bounces, and the goddamn New York Rangers goalie playing out of his mind against the Maple Leafs. Every time.

Well, the Leafs got a point at least, and that’s something?

The Maple Leafs are back in action Friday night against the San Jose Sharks at 6PM.

Wait, 6PM? That doesn’t seem right, but that’s what the schedule says.

Alright, see you all at 6 on Friday.