In case you missed it, a twist was thrown into tonight’s first Battle of Ontario of the season. Matt Murray, who was projected to get the call against his former team, left the morning skate early with an apparent injury.
Sheldon Keefe says Matt Murray experienced discomfort in his groin that occurred for the first time during the AM skate.
— Dave McCarthy (@DaveAMcCarthy) October 15, 2022
At any rate, Toronto (1-1-0) will entertain the new look Ottawa Senators (0-1-0) tonight at Scotiabank Arena.
Back on Thursday night, Auston Matthews’ third period tip-in goal – his first of the season – was the difference as the Leafs edged the Washington Capitals 3-2. Playing against his former mates for the first time, Ilya Samsonov made 24 saves for the revenge game victory. John Tavares and Calle Jarnkrok also scored for Toronto in the victory.
Meantime, the Senators fell 4-1 in their season opener in Buffalo on Thursday night. Brady Tkachuk had the goal while Anton Forsberg made 32 saves in the loss. This will be the first of four between these two rivals this season. Toronto went 3-1-0 against Ottawa in 2021-22.
Time: 7 PM EDT (CBC, SN Ontario)
Starting Goalies: TBD vs. OTT Anton Forsberg (Unconfirmed)
Can Matt Murray make his revenge start?
Murray was expected to get the call tonight against his former team. Back on July 11, Toronto acquired the 28-year-old from Ottawa for a pair of draft picks. Essentially, it was a salary dump, even though the Senators retained 25 per cent of Murray’s salary in the deal. The Thunder Bay native has had an injury plagued career. In two seasons with the Sens, he made just 47 appearances going 15-25-3 with a 3.23 goals-against average, .899 save-percentage and three shutouts. Stay tuned.
Expose the D
As mentioned, Ottawa had one hell of an offseason in terms of adding marquee talent. That said, without question, their d-corps is their Achilles’ heel. Simply put, the Leafs can’t have a repeat performance of the season opener when they made life way too easy for Montreal’s defence. Toronto needs to push the pace and take advantage of Ottawa’s defensive deficiencies. Take the game to them!
Through two games, the Maple Leafs have been shorthanded a grand total of nine times. Lucky for them, they’ve yet to surrender a power play goal, something that will change quickly if they can’t stay out of the box. In case you missed it, Ottawa bolstered its offence significantly in the offseason and will have problem improving upon last year’s 21st ranked power play.
(As of 11:30 a.m. EDT)
John Tavares O2.5 SOG (-150)
The sample size is small, but the captain has mustered nine shots on goal through two games. Additionally, he averaged three shots on goal per game in 79 regular season outings last season. Ride the hot hand.