Mitch Marner has goal and two assists as Maple Leafs edge Senators 3-2
Toronto Maple Leafs centre Joe Thornton races to congratulate teammate Auston Matthews on his goal as Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk looks on during first period NHL hockey action in Ottawa, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, January 16, 2021 9:55PM EST
OTTAWA - Mitch Marner had a goal and two assists as the Toronto Maple Leafs held on for a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night at Canadian Tire Centre.
The victory gave the Maple Leafs (2-1-0) a split of the back-to-back set in the nation's capital. The Senators (1-1-0) opened their regular season with a 5-3 win over Toronto a night earlier.
Joe Thornton and Auston Matthews had a goal and assist apiece for Toronto. Nick Paul and Tim Stutzle scored for Ottawa.
Matt Murray returned to the Ottawa net while the Maple Leafs gave backup goaltender Jack Campbell his first start of the young season.
Toronto, looking to set the tone after a mediocre showing on Friday, came out flying in the early going. Ottawa withstood the early pressure and opened the scoring at 10:55.
Nikita Zaitsev fired a rising shot from the point that hit Paul's mid-section in the slot. The puck landed at Paul's feet and he slapped it past Campbell for his first goal of the year.
Toronto pulled even moments later as Marner made a nice back pass to Thornton, who snapped the puck past Murray from the faceoff circle.
It was the first goal of the season for the 41-year-old forward, who signed a one-year deal with the Maple Leafs in the off-season.
Marner made it a 2-1 game at 1:10 of the second period. He grabbed a loose puck off the faceoff and wired a shot that deflected off Erik Gudbranson and past Murray.
Marner was at his flashy best again in the third period as he set up Auston Matthews at 2:42.
With Toronto on the power play, Marner dropped the puck between his legs and his linemate blasted a one-timer for his first goal of the year.
Stutzle, selected with the third overall pick in last year's draft, scored his first career NHL goal in style. The 19-year-old German showed great timing by connecting with an arching puck after it hit the ice, beating Campbell on the short side.
However, Stutzle took a tripping penalty with 2:49 left in regulation. Ottawa pulled the goalie for an extra attacker in the final minute but couldn't pull even despite some late pressure.
The Maple Leafs outshot the Senators 40-19.
Both teams made lineup changes as Colin White replaced Artem Anisimov for Ottawa. Nick Robertson got the nod for Toronto ahead of Alexander Barabanov.
Robertson played just two minutes 20 seconds before leaving the game with an apparent knee injury.
The Maple Leafs opened the season Wednesday with a 5-4 overtime victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens.
The Senators will continue their four-game homestand Tuesday with the first of two straight games against Winnipeg. The Maple Leafs will return home to play the Jets on Monday night.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021.