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game recap

Matthews scores in fourth straight opener, helps Maple Leafs top Senators

Has two goals for Toronto; Sabourin gets first in NHL for Ottawa

by Dave McCarthy / Independent Correspondent

Matthews' second goal of the game

OTT@TOR: Matthews buries Marner's no-look pass

Mitchell Marner spins around and feeds Auston Matthews, who rips home a buzzing one-timer on the power play for his second goal of the game

  • 00:56 •

TORONTO -- Auston Matthews became the fourth player in NHL history to score in each of his of first four season openers, and the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-3 at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday.

Matthews, who scored twice, joined Dit Clapper (Boston Bruins, 1927-30), Dave Andreychuk (Buffalo Sabres, 1982-85) and Sergei Fedorov (Detroit Red Wings, 1990-93).

"I really try to score every game, so I don't know what to say (about the record)," Matthews said. "[William Nylander] made an unbelievable pass on the first goal, and then [Mitchell Marner] with eyes in the back of his head on the power play, it was an amazing pass and I just tried to get it off as quick as possible."


[WATCH: All Senators vs. Maple Leafs highlights]


Ilya Mikheyev had a goal and an assist in his NHL debut, Frederik Gauthier and Trevor Moore scored, and Frederik Andersen made 23 saves for the Maple Leafs, who had lost the previous five times they opened the season against the Senators. Tyson Barrie had two assists in his Toronto debut.

"It was a perfect start for them. We were nervous and they banged it in our net," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said of the Senators taking a 1-0 lead 25 seconds into the first period. "Then we got three power plays in a row, we were borderline dysfunctional, we couldn't move. I thought once we got through that and were down 1-0, we came out and just played."

Video: OTT@TOR: Nylander feeds Matthews on the rush

Brady Tkachuk, Scott Sabourin and Bobby Ryan scored, and Craig Anderson made 37 saves for the Ottawa.

"We came out hitting, working in the first period and got rewarded," said Senators coach D.J. Smith, who made his NHL debut after being a Maple Leafs assistant the past four seasons. "In the second period, I didn't think we were great. But in saying that, they were really good too, so you have to give them credit."

Moore put in a pass from Mikheyev at the top of the goal crease at 4:42 of the second period to give the Maple Leafs a 2-1 lead, but Sabourin, who was making his NHL debut, tied it 2-2 at 5:51.

Defenseman Ron Hainsey, who played for the Maple Leafs the past two seasons, had a goal overturned for the Senators at 7:28 of the second period after Toronto challenged for offside. Matthews made it 3-2 34 seconds later when he one-timed a pass from Nylander on a 2-on-1 at 8:02.

"That was a big difference in the game there," Andersen said. "It was a great job by our video coaches in the back room. I'm going to go back there and thank them and give them a pat on the shoulder. It looks like they're dialed in to start the season."

Video: OTT@TOR: Moore shoves rebound home in front

Matthews scored on the power play to make it 4-2 at 14:50 when he one-timed a pass from Marner.

"We had a competitive first period, we did a lot of good things, we were physical and had attention to detail," Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki said. "I don't know if it was because of the beginning of the year, we took that collective deep breath and that breath was maybe a little too deep and we lost our sense of urgency a little bit."

Mikheyev one-timed a pass from Barrie at 9:43 of the third period to put Toronto up 5-2.

Video: OTT@TOR: Mikheyev earns first NHL goal on one-timer

Ryan made it 5-3 by scoring on a rebound from the slot with 2:15 remaining.

Tkachuk took a pass from Connor Brown and scored from the top of the goal crease to give Ottawa a 1-0 lead. Brown played the past four seasons for Toronto.

Gauthier tied it 1-1 at 2:20 of the second.


They said it

"Anyone who says momentum doesn't matter in pro sports, there's a pretty good example right there that it does. It's a completely different game, the makeup of the game changes for sure. You go from being on a high to a bit of a letdown, and next thing you know, they pop one in and a second. But at the same time, that's not just bad luck. That's on us, we need to respond to that, be mature and work our way through those ups and downs." -- Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki on Ottawa having a goal overturned

"I thought it was good. Obviously it was not the start we wanted, but I thought we bounced back and played hard. I thought there were periods of the game where we really controlled the play. It was a good first night." -- Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly


Need to know

Brown's assist on Tkachuk's goal was his 100th NHL point. ... Tkachuk's goal was the fastest in a Senators season opener. Kyle Turris scored at 30 seconds during a 3-1 win at the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 8, 2015. ... Matthews has nine goals in season openers, tying him with Babe Dye for the most in Maple Leafs history. ... Dmytro Timashov got his first NHL point by assisting on Gauthier's goal. ... Rasmus Sandin got his first NHL point by assisting on Moore's goal. ... John Tavares, who was named the Maple Leafs' 25th captain prior to the game, had an assist. ... Forward Jason Spezza was a healthy scratch, but Babcock said he will make his Toronto debut Friday.

Video: OTT@TOR: Tkachuk nets first goal of 2019-20 season


What's next

Senators: Host the New York Rangers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CITY, MSG, NHL.TV)

Maple Leafs: At the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, TSN4, NHL.TV)

Video: Matthews scores twice as Maple Leafs down Senators

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