Toronto Maple Leafs pound Winnipeg Jets on opening night of NHL season
WINNIPEG – Patrick Marleau put away two goals in his first game with the Toronto Maple Leafs to help ground the Winnipeg Jets 7-2 at Bell MTS Place on the opening day of the 2017-2018 NHL regular season.
The victory is the Maple Leafs’ first in Winnipeg in six games. It also snaps the Jets’ two-game home opener win streak.
Toronto scored three times during a span of 2:38 late in the first period starting with a Nazem Kadri power-play marker. James van Riemsdyk beat Jets goalie Steve Mason off a face-off shortly before William Nylander put the Maple Leafs up 3-0.
Winnipeg had several chances to strike first with four power plays in the opening frame. The Jets outshot Toronto 17-11 in the first twenty minutes of the game.
Marleau added to the Maple Leafs’ lead in the second by deking out Mason off an Auston Matthews feed mid-frame. He later chased Winnipeg’s new netminder from the crease with a goal 36 seconds into the third period. Marleau signed a three-year contract with the Maple Leafs as a free agent this summer. He arrives in Toronto following 19 seasons with the San Jose Sharks.
Both teams traded two goals apiece in the third period. Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews both scored for the Maple Leafs while Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault replied for the Jets.
Mason turned away 15 of the 20 shots he faced in his Jets debut while back-up Connor Hellebuyck had nine saves in relief. Across the ice, Frederik Andersen made 35 stops.
Winnipeg finished the game with no goals on eight power plays.
The Maple Leafs return to Toronto for a three-game homestand starting Saturday against the New York Rangers. The Jets open a three-game Western Canadian road swing the same night in Calgary.
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