Following an opening night win, that saw Toronto beat the Montreal Canadiens (3-2), the Maple Leafs unfortunately failed to show up in their Saturday night tilt with another Canadian rival, the Ottawa Senators. That loss was short lived, and quickly forgotten as Toronto then travelled to Chicago to finish their first back to back series of the season. Toronto eventually won that thriller in overtime (7-6) to take them over .500 on the season (2-1).
Without Nylander, Toronto has managed to score 13 goals in their first 3 games, tied for second in the league. Tavares and Matthews have lead this outbreak in scoring tallying 9 goals and 3 assists combined. This has come much to the delight of Maple Leafs management and Toronto fans everywhere as Auston Matthews showed early on in the season just how dominant he can be. Matthews has a knack for opening game theatrics as we all can recall his famous 4 goal debut against the Senators, two years ago. He managed to make magic happen again on Wednesday night’s season opener scoring 2 goals; one being the overtime game winner. Building off that opening night game, Matthews then went on to score 3 goals and add 3 assists in his next two games. This has come to no surprise as the young superstar has proven himself to the doubters around the league, showing that his ability to shoot the puck is just one of many weapons he possesses. This point streak has come without his partner in crime, William Nylander. Instead, Babcock has found a way to keep Matthews on the score sheet without their star winger. Starting the season with veteran Patrick Marleau and newly acquired Tyler Ennis, Matthews was able to still be effective for the most part. During the Chicago game, Babcock made a move that sparked the Maple Leafs and a comeback. Kasperi Kappanen moved up to the first line, slotting back Ennis. This was just what Toronto and Matthews needed, as they both scored just minutes after each other to tie the game at 2. Matthews was able to silence any critics during this early season hot streak as he was able to score points both even strength and with the man advantage. Although power play points shouldn’t be a surprise, considering Toronto’s special teams has 5 weapons on the ice at once. There has been no sign in slowing down for Matthews as be continues to take the season in stride, and game by game becoming a better scorer. Matthews is certainly longing for teammate William Nylander, but has managed to get the job done in his absence. Toronto will likely continue to be a force offensively, along as their stars maintain status quo and continue to play good hockey.