OTTAWA, Ontario (AP)Anton Forsberg made a career-high 46 saves and the Ottawa Senators scored three times in the first period in a season-opening 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
Playing hours after the Senators signed Brady Tkachuk to a seven-year contract extension, Tyler Ennis had a goal and an assist and Chris Tierney and Alex Formenton also scored. Forsberg started in goal with Matt Murray fighting a cold.
”It’s like you welcomed your big brother home,” Senators coach D. J. Smith said about Tkachuk. ”He takes care of the boys in there and, you know, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, if you’re playing for the other team you know he’s out there. He continues to get bigger, stronger. He never takes a night off.”
Tierney opened the scoring on a deflection at 8:31, Ennis tipped in a shot on a power-play with 1:02 left, and Formenton scored on a slap shot with 0.6 seconds remaining in the opening period.
Forsberg had a quiet start, with Toronto only having two shots on goal in the first 10 minutes.
”I was standing there for a bit and then they kind of put a lot of shots there after the 10-minute mark,” Forsberg said. ”I mean, I tried to not think about it and just stay within my structure and then go from there.”
Toronto goalie Peter Mrazek left the game after sustaining a groin injury on the final play of the second period. He made 23 saves, and Jack Campbell – the winner Wednesday night at home against Montreal – stopped 10 shots in the third.
”Both goalies were unbelievable, ultimately (Forsberg) is the difference,” Smith said. ”He just looked confident. The goals they got are grade A. We give one up through the seam to a guy that shoots as good as anyone in the league. So, certainly our discipline has to be significantly better playing against them.”
Former Ottawa captain Jason Spezza and William Nylander had power-play goals for Toronto. Spezza made it 3-1 early in the third with a power-play goal, and Nylander connected with 11:10 to go.
”We knew if we got one, we would probably get two and make it interesting,” Spezza said. ”Teams generally sit back once you get a couple and tighten up a little bit, so we just wanted to get a goal on the power play.”
The teams will meet again Saturday night in Toronto.