Auston Matthews had an impressive start to his career as a Toronto Maple Leaf Wednesday night.
The first overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft became the first player to record a hat trick in his NHL debut as he accomplished the feat just minutes into the second period of the Maple Leafs visit to Ottawa.
Despite the impressive debut from Matthews, the Maple Leafs still fell to the Ottawa Senators in overtime.
Matthews opened the scoring at the 8:21 mark of the first period, standing in front of Senators goalie Craig Anderson as rookie linemate Zach Hyman centred the puck from behind the net. Matthews swatted at the pass, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead.
For his second goal, Matthews showed off his flashy puck-handling skills. He stripped Ottawa right-winger Mark Stone of the puck near the Senators’ blue line, then dangled the puck in and around the rest of the defence before putting it over Anderson’s shoulder.
The-19-year-old Matthews completed a hat trick just 1:25 into the second period, taking a cross-ice feed from Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly as the Toronto veteran charged toward the goal line, putting a light one-timer past Anderson.
Leafs to break tradition, will retire Auston Matthews' No. 34 at Saturday's home opener against Boston.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) October 13, 2016
Kyle Turris scored to tie the game at 4-4 midway through the third period before recording the winner for the home side in overtime.
Bobby Ryan, Erik Karlsson Derick Brassard also scored for Ottawa.
Before the game, the 19-year-old said he was well aware of the expectations that come with being the top pick as well as the increased pressure of playing in hockey-mad Toronto.
Auston Matthews is also the first ever 1st overall pick to record a hat trick in his first NHL game.— David Alter (@dalter) October 13, 2016
“You can’t really think about that too much and just go out there and play hockey,” he said. “For me I just want to do what I can and play my game to help this team win and that’s the most important thing.”
With files from Canadian Press