One down, 81 to go in roller-coaster Maple Leafs season

Jake Gardiner says he doesn't think the Leafs need to add another defenceman

Jake Gardiner says he doesn't think the Leafs need to add another defenceman

What did Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, both in the final year of their entry-level deals, think of the comments?

Leafs defencemen Morgan Rielly, Ron Hainsey and Jake Gardiner all had rough nights against the Canadiens, but Babcock said the whole group was to blame on a night where Montreal held a 76-60 edge in shot attempts.

Pegged as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender after a hype-filled summer and exhibition schedule, Toronto defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in overtime to open the National Hockey League regular season.

For Matthews, that might mean taking a smidge less than the $12.5 million Connor McDavid makes, rather than arguing for the same 16.67 per cent of the cap the Edmonton Oilers gave their captain in 2017 - a figure that would push a potential Matthews ask north of $13.25 million annually.

Nylander said he's been left in the dark during most of the negotiations.

"Kind of an ugly win for us", Matthews said.

"When I get together with some of my old mates from the Cup years in Detroit, we talk about winning together and growing together; that's what we remember", Shanahan said.

"We have confidence in this room that this team's going to stay together for a long time", Marner said after practice.

This messy business of contract talks is going to mess with minds for the next little while.

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The Leafs picked things up nearly immediately and had already come close on a couple of good opportunities when their top-heavy first power-play unit went to work. He's terrific in that space.

"It's quite a ways away, so not really", said Matthews. At the start of Wednesday's match, as the Leafs struggled to put the Canadiens away, social media chirpers were already declaring Tyler Ennis couldn't keep up to Matthews and Patrick Marleau and that the Habs were a goal away from making Dubas start to sweat about Nylander. "All in all, it was a heck of an effort by our team; it was a great game by [Price] and definitely a lot to build on, for sure".

The Leafs were outworked. Montreal outshot the Leafs 36-26 and kept the Leafs off-balance with a strong forecheck.

It was such a shot that Price took a good long look at the replay on the scoreboard video screen to be sure of what he just saw.

"(Tavares) wanted to come here and win hockey games, he wanted to be treated fairly, and he is", Shanahan said. But over regulation time they were the faster team, the scrappier team and the hardest workers. If you turn the puck over, you don't win. I thought there was lots of good things. "(Playing in Toronto) is not for everyone and we're not for everyone, but we think the players that we now have, while it's not going to be easy, we have great confidence that they have bought into being a part of this program and being a part of the Toronto Maple Leafs and representing Toronto in a way that they understand what's going to be most important. I think I mentioned that this morning when I had the lineup one above the other. "I certainly got that sense and it's why I felt strongly that things can work here.it's a negotiation and, you know, things take their own time, their own process and sometimes there's some tough moments through it".

"You're going to get a challenge", he said. "I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity", said Tavares on the ovation he received during pregame introductions.

Toronto has made the playoffs the last two springs - losing to Washington in six games and Boston in seven - with a young, talented roster after the bumbling franchise missed out 10 of the previous 11 seasons. Domi, who had limited game action after he was suspended for sucker-punching Florida's Aaron Ekblad in his only preseason appearance, had two assists on the night. The guy knows how to find the back of the net, scoring 37 goals last season while adding 47 assists.

Frederik Andersen stopped 34 of 36 Canadiens shots to earn his first victory of the season.

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