Hockey’s back, and for the first time in a while, the Leafs start the season with expectations that are more than just “Maybe we’ll make the playoffs!” In a change of scenery, the Leafs start their season in Winnipeg against the Jets, who have smaller expectations (maybe winning a playoff game). Regardless, it’s Matthews vs. Laine to start the season, and we couldn’t have asked it any other way, especially considering both of these teams habits of high scoring games and blown leads against each other.
…and the season is underway, as the puck has dropped on the 2017-18, and the Leafs discipline seems to have forgotten about it. The Leafs took three penalties in the first 12 minutes of the game, the most interesting of them being a Leo Komarov equipment violation for his visor being too high. This allowed the Jets to dominate the early portion of the game, between the power play time, and the time it took for the Leafs players to get into the groove of the new season, but couldn’t on the bench during the penalty kills.
But, that didn’t last too long for the Jets. Exactly 15 minutes in, Jacob Trouba took a hooking penalty to give the Leafs their first power play of the season. It took the Leafs 45 seconds to capitalize on their first power play, and get their first goal of the season, as a scramble in front saw Nazem Kadri bury the loose puck past a falling Steve Mason. Two minutes later, James van Riemsdyk scored his first of the season off of a faceoff to give the Leafs a 2-0 lead. And then, just 43 seconds later, William Nylander scored on a delayed penalty, as a sneaky Jake Gardiner pass (and a confused Mason) gave Willy a wide open net to give the Leafs a 3-0 lead going into the first intermission.
The second was a little less uneventful, as the Leafs took a couple more penalties, and killed both of them (albeit in maybe not the best way possible). Shortly after the first penalty was killed, Babcock sent out Marleau-Matthews-Marner to give the penalty killers a rest, and they rewarded him with a goal, as a great passing play from Carrick to Marner to Matthews to Marleau, who would pot his first goal as a Maple Leaf, and give them a 4-0 lead. But, that doesn’t mean the lead is safe, as we saw this same building almost a year ago.
…buuuuuut that didn’t happen. Marleau potted his second goal of the game just 36 seconds into the third, and Marner scored a power play goal that resembled Nylander’s in the first period to make it 6-0. After that, it was back and forth. Patrik Laine actually did something and made a nice pass to Mark Scheifele to make it 6-1. Matthews deflected a Connor Carrick shot to make it 7-1. Mathieu Perreault also scored to make it 7-2 for the Jets. All of this in a span of a 1:26. Other than that, it was a slow-paced march to the finish, with the Leafs blowing out the Jets 7-2.
First, we have some fans exposing Babcock for sending out Marner-Matthews-Nylander on the low key.
Look at Babcock sneaking in Matthews, Nylander and Marner on the same line for a shift like we won't notice.
— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) October 4, 2017
Nylander-Marner-Matthews 😍😍😍 pic.twitter.com/KC5ajjqAWh
— Hardev (@HardevLad) October 4, 2017
Also, some people liked Patrick Marleau scoring in his first Leafs games off of an Auston Matthews pass, and made it known that that should happen more
*whispers* Zach Hyman does not do what Patrick Marleau just did
— Justin Bourne (@jtbourne) October 5, 2017
Please tell me how you'd rather watch Hyman fan on the puck all game than watch Marleau capitalize on Matthews' dirty setups.
— Totally Offside (@Totally_Offside) October 5, 2017
Speaking of Marleau, Christina was feeling a little bit sentimental before the game.
— Christina Marleau (@c_marleau) October 4, 2017
Some fun Auston Matthews stats.
Auston Matthews, who assisted on Patrick Marleau's 1st goal with the Maple Leafs, was 15 days old when Marleau debuted on Oct. 1, 1997. pic.twitter.com/hRpXgyeucq
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 5, 2017
The others to do that with TOR were Wendel Clark (108 from 1985-87), Laurie Boschman (81 from 1979-81) & William Nylander (74 from 2015-17) https://t.co/e3ZmJymc62
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) October 5, 2017
And finally, Platinum Seat Ghosts decided to call out the “passionate” Winnipeg Jets fans.
3rd star calibre fanbase sounds pretty #CrAzY tonight!
— Platinum Seat Ghosts (@3rdPeriodSuits) October 4, 2017
Keep your eyes peeled tomorrow morning, as we’ll have a more in-depth analysis of the game.