TSN Toronto Reporter Mark Masters reports on the Maple Leafs, who had a free media in the Canadian Tire Center on Thursday ahead of tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
Petr Mrazek gets his Leafs debut tonight against an opponent he has had plenty of success against. The Czech native is 7-1-2 with a .920 savings percentage against the Ottawa senators in his career.
Jack Campbell played well last night and stopped 31 of 32 shots in a 2-1 win and it is now up to Mrazek to hold serve as this new goalie standings system gets underway.
“More of the same,” coach Sheldon Keefe said when asked what he’s looking for in the net. “It’s a great chance for Petr here. He’s had a good pre-season, a good camp. Jack is coming off a great performance yesterday and we’re looking for more of the same.”
Campbell’s best work came in the first 10 minutes last night as the Blades struggled to find their feet against the Montreal Canadiens. A better start tonight against the rested senators is a focal point.
“We need to be ready,” Keefe stressed. “I mean we were not ready from the fall from the puck and that’s disappointing. Caught us honestly a bit because it was not a problem at all through the pre-season. Of course not in the way we want to get out, especially on home ice. Now, you get on the road here and play against a new team that you know will be ready, they’ll be excited to play here today. We have to be sharp. So it was not near good enough … it could have been over before it started. “
William Nylander led the Leafs in scoring in the playoffs (five goals and three assists in seven games), and the winger grabbed right where he left off in Wednesday’s season opener against the Montreal Canadiens. Nylander scored the game-winning goal via a beautiful snipe on Jake Allen.
“It was cute,” the defender said Justin Holl. “Really good patience and chose his corner really nicely. You love to see it.”
Why did Nylander delay a bit before the shooting?
“I do not know, it just happened,” the 25-year-old insisted. “That’s just what happened out there. I was not really going to do anything. That’s just how it turned out.”
“Coupling goals for us,” Keefe said. “That’s what you need. When you get such a chance with one of your best players, you expect him to capitalize. He did just that. It was a good hand out there between him and Mitch. [Marner]. Mitch had plenty of strength to hang on to the puck and get us organized and then a good line break and then Willy right on the ball. As soon as he hits the ice, he is ready to go. ”
Five-on-five shot attempts favored the Leafs 21-7 when Nylander was on the ice, giving him the best CorsiFor percentage on the team per game. NaturalStatTrick.com. Nylander ended the night with five shots on net.
“Will was good in many other areas, so a very positive sign for him and us,” Keefe said.
With Auston Matthews (left wrist) sideline, John Tavares has moved up to the top line in the center, leaving Nylander to run the second unit with Alex Kerfoot and Michael Bunting. And so far, Nylander is going up. Keefe rewards him with more ice time. Nylander played 18 minutes and 18 seconds on opening night. Last season, he averaged 16 minutes and 36 seconds per game. Match.
It was also a good season opener too Pierre Engvall, who cracked Toronto’s opening night for the first time in his career. The 25-year-old gets more options after the injury to Ilya Mikheyev, who suffered a thumb fracture on Saturday and will be out for eight weeks.
Engvall gets power-play time for the first time in the NHL and responded with a man-advantage marker on Wednesday. Engvall also scored in both games before the season, which he played last week.
“He’s shot the puck with so much confidence,” Campbell said, “and he has such a hard shot, so it’s no surprise they’re going in now. He’s super confident, and we need him to keep going. to have that confidence in the next match. “
Engvall seemed to find instant chemistry with linemates and Czech comrades David is struggling and Ondrej Kase. That trio was fed a solid diet with defensive-zone starts and so much of it Christian Dvorak line.
“We start in the d-zone and try to play them hard there and not give them much and then use our skill and speed to create offensive and I think we showed that,” Engvall said. “We played hard down there, but always got a lot of offensive shifts.”
However, communication on the line is still ongoing.
“They speak Czech,” Engvall said with a laugh. “I do not know Czech, but I think I will learn quickly, catch up on some words.”
“He had a really strong game,” Keefe said. “Skates well. Scored us a big goal on the powerplay. Gave us a lot of big shifts. Had some tough tasks, you know, and played against some of their top people and started at our own end much of the time.”
Keefe was so impressed with the new line with the third look that he sent them over the boards at the last minute to defend a 2-1 lead. However, that move almost went back when Engvall unnecessarily iced the puck with 12 seconds left.
“He was really good,” Keefe said before breaking into a smile. “So good that we’ll give him a pass to shoot at the empty net there.”
Defender Timothy Liljegren, a healthy scratch last night, will be on the ice for warm-up.
“We have a decision to make towards the end of warm-ups when we get a feel for guys,” Keefe said.
Projected Leafs lines for tonight’s game in Ottawa:
Ritchie – Tavares – Marner
Bunting – Kerfoot – Nylander
Engvall – Kampf – Kase
Spezza – Amadio – Simmmonds
Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – All
Sandin – Dermott
Hurt: Matthews (writing), Mikheyev (broken thumb)