Mitch Marner had a pair of highlight-reel plays, but the Leafs forward’s phenomenal performance wasn’t enough to prevent a defeat. Toronto was substandard in their own end of the rink in a 5-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena.

The Good

  • Marner thrilled the hometown fans early in the second period, mesmerizing the Senators’ defenders with a prolonged stickhandle in the corner before finding Morgan Rielly with a cross-ice pass for Toronto’s first goal.
  • With the Leafs trailing by a goal later in the frame, Marner went coast-to-coast and showed great patience in outwaiting goalie Craig Anderson for the equalizer on the power play. Not that Marner needed any redemption, but the goal made up for a missed penalty shot earlier in the game.
  • Auston Matthews had his third goal of the season.

The Bad

  • Goaltender Frederik Andersen, who was solid in the team’s opening game Wednesday, had a forgettable evening. He surrendered a pair of five-hole goals, one to Dylan DeMelo in the first period, and another to Chris Tierney in the middle frame.
  • Senators defenceman Thomas Chabot was outstanding in scoring a pair of goals. On both occasions he took advantage of some shoddy Leafs defence; first undressing Tyler Ennis at the left point before firing a shot on which he converted the rebound, then catching defender Igor Ozhiganov puck watching before registering his second goal.
  • Connor Brown’s lazy entry into the offensive zone was promptly denied by Ryan Dzingel, who found Tierney up ice, resulting in Ottawa’s third goal.

The Ugly

  • With the Leafs pressing for the equalizer late in regulation, coach Mike Babcock inexplicably called a timeout. The strategy was ill-advised, considering that the Ottawa players had iced the puck twice in succession and were practically running on fumes. As of 2017-18, teams are not allowed to burn their timeout to rest their players after an icing, so the option was not available to the gassed Senators’ squad. Leafs fans with long memories recall that on March 14, 2018, Toronto took full advantage of a Dallas Stars team in a similar situation, not only getting the tying goal from Patrick Marleau with 16 seconds left in the third period, but going on to win in a shootout. Babcock should have maintained the strategy from that game.