Maple Leafs hammer Jets as puck drops on NHL season

Veteran Patrick Marleau scored twice in his Maple Leafs debut as Toronto cruised to a 7-2 rout of the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday in the season opener for both teams.

Nazem Kadri, James van Riemsdyk and William Nylander scored in a three-minute span in the first period for the Leafs. Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews each added their first goals of the season.

Tyler Bozak, Matthews and van Riemsdyk each had a pair of assists and Marleau, Marner and Kadri all contributed one.

Frederik Andersen made 35 saves in net for Toronto.

Marleau, who spent the first 19 seasons of his career with the San Jose Sharks, signed a three-year contract with Toronto on July 2.

The seven goals tied Toronto’s highest output from last season, a 7-1 home win against the New York Islanders on Feb. 14.

Mark Scheifele nixed the Leafs’ shutout bid at 11:31 of the third period to make it 6-1. Mathieu Perreault also scored for Winnipeg.

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Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock shows his displeasure after forward Leo Komorov was given two minutes for an illegal equipment penalty during Wednesday’s season opener against the Jets in Winnipeg. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

New Jets veteran goalie Steve Mason was pulled after Marleau’s second goal 36 seconds into the third period, having allowed five goals on 20 shots. Connor Hellebuyck stopped nine of the 11 shots he faced.

Winnipeg was dominating the opening period, getting three early power plays and testing Andersen with at least eight shots with the man advantage, but it was Toronto’s only power play of the period that paid off.

With Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba in the penalty box for hooking, Kadri went in front of Mason and took a shot, got his own rebound and then jammed the puck into the net.

The Leafs went ahead 2-0 at 17:40 after Bozak went up against Scheifele in a faceoff, got his stick on the loose puck and sent a backhand pass to Van Riemsdyk for his quick, low shot.

Nylander used Toronto’s 10th shot of the game to make it 3-0 at 18:23.

Winnipeg outshot the Leafs 17-11 in the opening period and took its fourth power play of the game into the second period, but couldn’t solve Andersen.

The netminder stopped Shawn Matthias on a breakaway and later stretched out his arm while lying on the ice to make another save.

On the other end of the ice, Mason was beat again after Matthews sent a pass across to Marleau, who went in alone, did a little stickhandling and flipped a backhand shot into the net at 8:32.

By the end of the middle period, Winnipeg was 0 for 6 on the power play, Toronto was 1 for 2 and the Jets had the 27-19 shot advantage.

Marleau had his second goal after Kadri went down the ice into the corner and fed a pass back to the veteran newcomer to score just 36 seconds into the third.

Marner took advantage of his team’s fourth power play of the game to stretch the lead 6-0 at 8:07.

Scheifele broke the goose egg when he took a Patrik Laine pass across the front of the net and beat Andersen to make it 6-1. A Matthews goal 26 seconds later and Perreault’s at 12:57 rounded out the rout.

Winnipeg heads out for a three-game road trip starting in Calgary Saturday. Toronto begins a three-game homestand Saturday against the New York Rangers.

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CBC | Sports News