The first game of the 2019-20 season is in the books for the Columbus Blue Jackets, resulting in a 4-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in front of a sold-out home crowd at Nationwide Arena.
The first 10 minutes were a positive sign. Columbus looked quick, was getting some nice movement in the offensive zone and held serve in the neutral zone – not allowing any golden scoring chances for the Leafs.
However, Toronto has some lethal offensive weapons. Defenseman David Savard was assessed a minor penalty for interference and Toronto's Mitch Marner beat Joonas Korpisalo eight seconds later to give the road team 1-0 lead.
Play opened up for the final eight minutes of the opening period, with forward Jakob Lilja having the best scoring chance of the period for Columbus, but the puck rolled off his stick.
The first six minutes of the second period featured a good-looking chance for forward Alexandre Texier from linemate Cam Atkinson with a great angle on Frederik Andersen that went off the side of the net followed by a breakaway opportunity from Josh Anderson that was roofed over the net.
If felt like Toronto was starting to take control, and Cody Ceci beat Korpisalo down low to put the Leafs up 2-0 just past the halfway mark of the contest.
— 1st Ohio Battery (@1stOhioBattery) October 5, 2019
Jenner had a tremendous shorthanded opportunity with a little more than left in the second period, followed by a tremendous shift in the offensive end to give the Jackets some momentum, despite trailing 2-1 heading into the final 20 minutes.
Man, the Blue Jackets just had the Leafs on the ropes late in the second period but weren't able to capitalize.— 1st Ohio Battery (@1stOhioBattery) October 5, 2019
An incredible shift from Texier, Werenski, and others. Leafs lead 2-1 after 40 minutes. #CBJ
Things got chippy in the first minute of the third period, but it was Marner who took advantage – scoring his second goal of the contest at the 2:16 mark to put Toronto up 3-1 during 4-on-4 action.
Jenner had a shot off the crossbar with about 14 minutes left in regulation, but the difference was Toronto burying their chances while the Jackets were left with only one goal on the evening.
Auston Matthews added a power-play goal for good measure to make it a final score of 4-1.
There are no injuries to report. Brandon Dubinsky remains out for a while due to a wrist injury and is on injured reserve.
It won't get any easier for the Blue Jackets, who head to Pittsburgh tomorrow night for a matchup with the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.