The Toronto Maple Leafs kicked off their regular season opener with a thrilling 5-4 OT win over the Montreal Canadiens.
What an exciting first game of the season this was for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Any time you can beat the Montreal Canadiens at home is a special night, but coming from behind to ultimately win in overtime was awesome.
Obviously I hope the team doesn’t have fans in attendance until it’s safe to do so, but man, would this have been a fun one to attend in person. Things didn’t look great at the midway point, but the team made up for it throughout the rest of the game.
After only playing five games in the past nine months, you could tell that the Leafs were tired as the game stretched on. The play turned into survival mode and it was pretty sloppy throughout. However, that’s what you’d expect after so much time off and a shortened training camp, where no preseason games were played.
Also, after months of anticipation, Zach Bogosian, Alexander Barabanov, Jimmy Vesey, T.J. Brodie, Wayne Simmonds and Joe Thornton all made their Leafs debut, with hopes of Mikko Lehtonen to do the same soon.
Every game isn’t going to be as fun as this one, but let’s go through the good, bad and the ugly for game one of the regular season.
Toronto Maple Leafs Good, Bad and Ugly
- Leafs Second Line:
- The Leafs are incredibly fortunate that their second-line would essentially be a first-line on any other NHL team. The line of William Nylander, John Tavares and Jimmy Vesey combined for four goals, seven points and were electric all night. Nylander left off where he was one season ago, scoring twice and is bound for another great season.
- Morgan Rielly:
- The Leafs best defenseman wasn’t too noticeable for most of the night, but he showed up when he was needed, scoring the overtime winner and led the team in ice-time, playing 28:35.
- Wayne Simmonds:
- When the Leafs signed Simmonds, every fan hoped he’d provide toughness and grit. Trailing 3-1 midway through the second period, Simmonds fought Ben Chiarot, which sparked the team and started the comeback to victory.
- Zach Bogosian:
- He only had 10:49 of ice-time, but Bogosian looked slow and uncomfortable at times. I think he’s going to be a great depth piece for the Leafs this season, but after one game, I’d like to see Mikko Lehtonen inserted into the line-up.
- Freddie Andersen:
- Everyone knows that Andersen is a slow starter to the campaign, but with this season starting in January, I expected a better performance. Andersen allowed four goals on 32 shots, which is a .875 save percentage. Two of those goals came on the power-play, but the Leafs can’t afford to allow four goals every night if they expect to win the North Division.
Overall, you can’t ask for much more from a season opener. There was a fight, nine goals, 3-on-3 overtime and the Leafs won. I could get used to this for the next 55 games.