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Jets drop regular season opener to Maple Leafs

Scheifele, Perreault score for Winnipeg in the loss

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

WINNIPEG - It wasn't the night the Winnipeg Jets were looking for.

After scoring 13 power play goals in seven preseason games, the Jets couldn't light the lamp on three early opportunities on the man advantage against the Toronto Maple Leafs, ultimately falling by a score of 7-2 in front of a sold out Bell MTS Place.

Patrick Marleau scored twice for Toronto, with Nazem Kadri, James van Riemsdyk, William Nylander, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner added singles.

Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault scored for the Jets in the loss.

"It doesn't take much for them. They finish on the opportunities they have. They're a good, sharp offensive team. They got the pucks to the net real quick," head coach Paul Maurice said postgame. "Their goalie was good. He made some real good saves. I'm not saying that's the game. He handled his rebounds especially well I thought."

Video: WPG Recap: Defense falters as Jets lose to Leafs, 7-2

The Jets would finish 0-for-8 on the power play on the night, and captain Blake Wheeler said the game changed quickly after Toronto's opening goal, the first of three in a 2:38 span.

"We had a number of power plays, and it was doing everything but scoring. Then we took a penalty and let a greasy one in. From there, you blink and it's 3-0," said Wheeler. "We just weren't able to dig our way out of it.

"It's tough to on the spot regroup and try to get your game going again. It's too bad we couldn't find a way to try to salvage one somewhere within the next 10 minutes and get some momentum going our way."

Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice

That first goal came with Jacob Trouba off for hooking. Kadri banged in a loose puck after Steve Mason turned away two chances from James van Riemsdyk in tight.

Less than two minutes later, Tyler Bozak won an offensive zone face-off to van Riemsdyk, who's wrist shot deflected off the stick of Josh Morrissey at the hashmarks, and beat Mason on the stick side.

Nylander rounded out the scoring in the opening frame. With a delayed penalty coming to Winnipeg, Auston Matthews circled the Jets zone and left a drop pass at the point for Jake Gardiner, who found Nylander by himself back door for the tap-in.

"It definitely wasn't what we were looking for. It just wasn't good enough," Mason said.

"At the end of the day, it's my job to be sharper than that. … It just wasn't a good game for myself."

Video: POSTGAME | Steve Mason

Marleau - playing in his first game with Toronto after signing July 2 - made it 4-0 when Matthews sent a backhand saucer pass over the stick of Trouba to Marleau, who broke in alone, faked forehand and beat Mason on the backhand to make it 4-0.

Marleau would score his second of the night 36 seconds into the third, ripping a pass from forechecking Kadri past Mason from the top of the circle.

That was the end of the night for Mason, who gave way for Connor Hellebuyck after stopping 15 of 20 shots.

"Five was enough. He's going to have a couple he's going to want to have back," said Maurice. "The first goal, he got bowled over by our own guy, he's got no chance on that. The next one is a real quick deflection, and he's not going to do anything with the third one."

Video: POSTGAME | Nikolaj Ehlers

After Marner made it 6-0, Scheifele was the benefactor of a slick goal line backhand saucer pass from Patrik Laine. Scheifele one-timed the feed from the bottom of the circle for his first of the season.

Perreault and Matthews would score late to bring the final score to 7-2. Wheeler says it's important the team leaves this result behind when they reconvene at Bell MTS Iceplex for practice tomorrow, even if it may be difficult.

"Probably if you're in the season a little bit, you can throw this one in the trash and move on. The fact it's the first game, it's not obviously the way you want to start, especially at home," said Wheeler. "Hopefully it's a good shock to the system and we can get back at it tomorrow."

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