Patrick Marleau had a goal in his first game at Air Canada Centre, an outing in which the Leafs fell 5-2 to the Ottawa Senators in preseason action.
Marleau, showcasing his trademark speed even at age 38, breezed down the right side after a set up from linemate Leo Komarov, and sniped the puck past Ottawa goalie Mike Condon for the tally.
The other Leafs goal was scored by James van Riemsdyk, on a tic-tac-toe power play set up by Mitch Marner and Jake Gardiner.
Apart from the Toronto goals, plus a scrap in which Andreas Borgman finished on top (literally) of Mike Blunden, there were scant highlights to appease the hometown crowd. Once again the team’s weakness on defence was exposed. The Senators scored the opening goal of the game after Ottawa capitalized on a horrible turnover by Martin Marincin, who was attempting to clear the blue line on a Leafs penalty kill.
On the eventual game-winner, Borgman was caught idle as Erik Burgdoerfer left the penalty box and pounced on a breakaway, missing the initial chance but finding the back of the net seconds later.
“To me (Ottawa) worked harder the last two games than we did,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said after the game.
Players on both sides struggled to adjust to the NHL’s new faceoff rules, which call for a minor penalty upon infringing on the position of the centre’s skates, in relation to the lines parallel to the dot within the icing circles.
“I think I got kicked out (of more draws) than I took,” Tyler Bozak said. “It’s gonna be a learning curve for everyone. The centremen have to not cheat at all.”
The Leafs resume their preseason schedule Friday when they host Buffalo at Ricoh Coliseum.