Patrick Marleau’s first regular season game with the Toronto Maple Leafs could not have gone any better for him.
The 38-year-old forward, who had spent his entire NHL career with the San Jose Sharks before signing in Toronto this summer, scored twice and had five shots on goal, helping the Maple Leafs to 7-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets.
The Jets actually had a decent start to this game — except it didn’t show on the score board.
Winnipeg held a territorial advantage thanks to three consecutive power plays, but couldn’t finish their chances and it quickly went off the rails for the home team.
The Maple Leafs made them pay with three goals late in the first period. Marleau struck in the second period, taking a puck off his skate and making a move to the backhand on Steve Mason, and he struck again in the third period, too.
With the pressure of a three-year, $18.75 million contract, it’s hard to envision a better start to Marleau’s time in Toronto.
The same cannot be said for Mason, who was making his regular season debut for the Jets.
Signed to a two-year, $8.2 million deal this summer, Mason gave up five goals on 20 shots and was pulled early in the third period, giving way to Connor Hellebuyck.
Toronto, with its youth and talent, has a solid offensive attack and it showed once the Maple Leafs were able to get through their early penalty trouble, thanks largely to the performance of goalie Frederik Andersen. The Jets ended the night 0-for-8 on the power play.
While the Maple Leafs are likely going to score plenty of goals this year, that’s not the start Mason would’ve been hoping for with his new team. Nazem Kadri started the onslaught and less than three minutes later, Toronto had a three-goal lead going into the intermission.