'I think it's going to be awesome,' Auston Matthews says of tonight's home game debut
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews celebrates a first period goal with teammate William Nylander during NHL hockey action in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)
Jonas Siegel, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, October 15, 2016 1:02PM EDT
TORONTO -- Saturday evening will carry with it plenty of anticipation for Toronto sports fans.
Not only will the Toronto Blue Jays play Game 2 of the American League Championship Series in Cleveland (they trail 1-0), but the Toronto Maple Leafs will host the Boston Bruins in a home opener bubbling with excitable storylines.
Auston Matthews, fresh off a historic NHL debut, will play his first regular-season game in front of the hometown crowd as will fellow rookies Nikita Zaitsev and Mitch Marner.
"I think it's going to be awesome," Matthews said ahead of the game.
Frederik Andersen, the Leafs new No. 1 goaltender, will also make his first start in Toronto following a rough debut in a season-opening loss to the Ottawa Senators in which he allowed five goals on 30 shots.
On the docket additionally is an extensive pre-game ceremony as part of the Leafs' centennial season celebration, which will include a reveal of new banners for players whose numbers have been honoured as well as other potential surprises.
A live feed of the Jays game will be shown on the big screen indoors at Air Canada Centre until ceremonies begin at 5:30 p.m.
Earlier this week, as part of centennial season celebrations, the Leafs revealed new statues for Dave Keon, Tim Horton and Turk Broda on Legends Row and presented a list of the 100 greatest Leafs in team history with Keon landing at No. 1.
Matthews' home debut might be the most intriguing aspect of the day on the hockey side. The 19-year-old became the first player in NHL history to score four goals in his highly-anticipated NHL debut.
"All that's over with it," Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "There's a new game here today."