Last night’s game marked the 100th anniversary of the Leafs in the NHL. It also marked the introduction of 8 new rookies in the Leafs roster, many questions about how Auston Matthews and company would acclimatize themselves to life in NHL so much excitement ran rampant, no game was more talked about in Toronto hockey circles.
It didn’t long for Mitch Marner and William Nylander to make their imprints on the game dominating parts of the game with speed and control of the puck in all three areas of the ice.
The game than became the Auston Matthews‘ show, in quick order Auston had four goals in what would end up being a historical game. No Leaf rookie or any rookie for that matter had in modern day NHL scored 4 goals in their first game. What an impressive introduction to the rest of the NHL, if Twitter was any indication the NHL world stopped to admire the Leafs wonder kid.
For all the excitement there were still parts of the game that Leafs showed room for improvement. The veterans who Mike Babcock will need to call on for reliability and a steady hand to mentor the rookies appeared to be caught up in the Auston Matthews show. Kadri, Bozak, Gardiner, JVR appeared slow and clearly playing at a level below that of the rookies. Where it appeared the line of Matthews, Nylander and Hyman controlled the pace of the game at times, the same can’t be said for the lines dominated by the vets.A trend this team will need to correct so the Leafs can commence their rise through the standings.
Game two of the 2016-17 season see our Leafs play Boston at home. Does Auston have an encore for the home crowd? Is this the game Marner and Nylander convert on their chances and they become the next headlines. Only time will tell, But if the kids can continue to play like this, there will be more exciting times ahead for our boys in the blue and white.
Auston Matthews’ Magical 4 Goal Night: