Senators win defensive battle against Leafs in pre-season opener

Tristan Scherwey scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period to lift the Ottawa Senators to a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday in the pre-season opener for both teams.

Scherwey, a training-camp invitee who has spent the last 10 seasons playing for SC Bern in Switzerland, jumped on a loose puck on a Toronto power play and fired it past Kasimir Kaskisuo to give Ottawa a 2-1 lead at the 9:45 mark.

Max Lajoie also scored for the Senators, with an assist by Scherwey, in an otherwise uneventful first period. Anthony Duclair added a goal late in the third.

Kasperi Kapanen scored the lone goal for the Maple Leafs to tie the game early in the third period. Mitch Marner, who had missed most of training camp while awaiting a contract extension, assisted on the play. Toronto signed Marner on Friday to a six-year, $65.358 million US deal.

The exhibition matchup marked the Maple Leafs’ return to St. John’s, a city that has historically hosted Toronto-affiliate teams.

Tight defence defined the larger part of the game.

Lajoie’s goal was the only shot that made it past goaltender Frederik Andersen in the first 40 minutes.

Anderson stopped 12-of-13 shots by the end of the second period before Kaskisuo allowed two goals on five shots in the third.

Ottawa goalie Anders Nilsson stopped all 13 shots he faced through the first two periods. Marcus Hogburg stopped 11-of-12 shots.

Kapanen, Marner and John Tavarres were among a handful of star players on the ice for Maple Leafs. Auston Matthews did not play in preparation for Wednesday’s game between the two teams in Ottawa.

Lajoie, forward Anthony Duclair and alternate captain Jean-Gabriel Pageau were among the regular Senators players.

The Maple Leafs played their home game to an enthusiastic, packed Mile One Centre in downtown St. John’s.

The city is host to the Leafs’ ECHL affiliate, the Newfoundland Growlers, which captured the league’s 2019 Kelly Cup in their inaugural season.

St. John’s was also home to the AHL’s Maple Leafs for 1991 to 2005 before the team relocated to Toronto as the Marlies.

Excitement over the Leafs’ return was palpable Tuesday afternoon, with a sea of blue and white jerseys flooding in to the city’s downtown.

Fans also came out in droves this past weekend for the team’s training camp in Paradise, N.L., about 20 minutes west of the provincial capital.

Retired sports broadcaster Bob Cole of St. John’s was in the crowd and received a round of applause.

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