Matthews scores twice, Maple Leafs beat Senators in opener

Auston Matthews had another big opening night for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Matthews scored twice in Toronto’s four-goal second period in a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night in the opener for both teams. He has nine goals and two assists in the four season-opening games, starting with a four-goal game against the Senators in his NHL debut in 2016.

“I try to score every game,” Matthews said.

Matthews gave Toronto a 3-2 lead at 8:02 of the second and made it 4-2 on a power play with 5:10 left in the period. He’s the fourth NHL player to score in each of his first four career openers.

Ilya Mikheyev had a goal and an assist in his NHL debut, Frederik Gauthier and Trevor Moore also scored, and Frederik Andersen stopped 23 shots. Tyson Barrie, acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in the offseason trade for Nazem Kadri, added two assists.

Scott Sabourin scored in his NHL debut for Ottawa, Brady Tkachuk, and Bobby Ryan added goals, and Craig Anderson made 37 saves. Former Toronto assistant D.J. Smith made his debut as an NHL head coach.

“The guys worked hard for the most part,” Smith said. “Some people had a little bit of a tough night. In saying that, guys fought right to the buzzer.”


John Tavares was named the 25th captain in Maple Leafs history before the game, filling a role that had been vacant for more than 3 1/2 years.

Tavares was captain of the New York Islanders for five seasons before signing with Toronto two summers ago. He had a career-high 47 goals and 88 points last season.

“We know about the history, the tradition and what it would mean to the city and the fan base,” Tavares said. “It’s not something you can ever take for granted, but at the same time I don’t think you want to change who you are. You just want to continue to just try to be better every day.”

Matthews, Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly were named alternates.

“It think all four of us look at it as a big honor,” Matthews said. “Like we’ve been saying all along, there’s lots of leaders in this room.”

NOTES: Jason Spezza, who signed with Toronto for the league minimum in free agency to play for his hometown this season, was a healthy scratch. …. Toronto was 1 for 5 on the power play, and Ottawa 0 for 3.


Senators: Host New York Rangers on Saturday night.

Maple Leafs: At Columbus on Friday night.


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