KANATA-Only minutes before the fall of puck and just hours after blessing young influencer Brady Tkachuk with the second richest contract in the history of Ottawa Senators, Pierre Dorion could not stop smiling.
On Tuesday night, cost-conscious owner Eugene Melnyk untied the stock market strings and gave his general manager the green light to lock Tkachuk up in the long run.
“I felt as powerful as I ever felt,” Dorion beamed. And later: “We got the Leafs tonight.”
That power would probably have been passed directly from Dorion to his players when the weary executive professor Tim Stützle for his sleep before the game.
The Sens came out of the gates flying into their opening house on Thursday, catching their rivals in Ontario flatfooted and overworked Toronto goalie Petr Mrazek in his Leafs debut.
Heading into a noisy (yet not very sold out) crowd at Canadian Tire Center, the home team directed three pucks past the Czech netminder before the buzzer sounded merciful in the first period.
Chris Tierney put one in with his foot. Former Leaf Tyler Ennis (who arrived in town on a PTO) tipped a point shot with his torso, and Alex Formenton’s dagger came on with just 1.4 seconds left on the clock.
Slowly during its consecutive season opener, Toronto has now dug a hole for the nine-minute mark in both of its games.
“We were not ready for the fall of the puck, and that was disappointing. It caught us offensively, honestly, because for us it was not a problem at all for preseason and of course not the way we want to get out,” he said. said coach Sheldon Keefe about Wednesday’s return to Montreal.
“Now you come here on the road, play against a new team that you know will be ready. They will be happy to play here today. We have to be sharp.”
And then the coach delivered something ominous: “We did not give up much from the 10-minute mark of the first period. But it could be over before it started. ”
A poor jawis from Pierre Engvall’s own zone, slow feet on mixed lines, and a stand-on-head performance from Ottawa goalkeeper Anton Forsberg resulted in a 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs and a happy Tkachuk day in Kanata .
Credit Sens coach DJ Smith for getting the cheapest NHL opening night grid ready to jump.
“Enormous coach,” Keefe said. “He really did a great job with that group last season. When that season ends 82 games, they move on to a playoff spot.
Injury piled up on the Maple Leafs’ insult when Mrazek, who settled in nicely in the second, didn’t take the ice for the final frame.
He is out with a body injury.
Jack Campbell performed admirably in cold relief, and the Leafs pushed back with goals from former Senator Jason Spezza and a substitute William Nylander.
Alas, Ottawa’s powerful pressure over the first 19:59 was all it took to secure the win.
For the Leafs, this was over … and then they started.
Round two of the Battle of Ontario takes place Saturday night in Toronto.
Tkachuk should be able to shuffle his way into the lineup for that one.