OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Brady Tkachuk had a goal and two assists, Matt Murray made 20 saves in his Ottawa debut and the Senators beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 on Friday night in their first game in more than 10 months.
“That’s going to be the way we play,” said Tkachuk, an alternate captain at 21 years of age. “We have a couple other levels to get to.”
Thomas Chabot, Austin Watson, Derek Stepan and Chris Tierney also scored for Ottawa. Josh Norris, with his first NHL points, Drake Batherson and Nikita Zaitsev added two assists each in the opener of a two-day set in Ottawa.
“With the way the schedule’s set up, you got to have a short-term memory,” said Stepan, acquired in an offseason trade with Arizona. “We got a good win, but we’ve got to put our work boots back on.”
John Tavares had a goal and assist for Toronto, Zach Hyman and Alexander Kerfoot also scored and Frederik Andersen stopped 19 shots.
“We were just playing a little bit too loose,” Toronto center Auston Matthews said. “That’s a team that works hard. They’re not going to go away. That’s on all of us. We’ve got to make sure we put our foot on the gas and (have) no mercy.”
The game was the Senators’ first in 310 days after they unknowingly took part in the final contest of the 2019-20 regular season March 11 in Los Angeles against the Kings. The league suspended its schedule the following day because of the coronavirus pandemic, and 30th-ranked Ottawa was among the seven clubs not included in the 24-team summer restart.
“Amazing feeling,” Tkachuk said. “You miss those winning ways.”
Toronto opened Wednesday night at home with an overtime victory over Montreal.
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