After coughing up a one-goal lead late, the rookie Leafs fell 5-4 in overtime to the Senators in game one of the 2015 rookie tournament.

Leaf goals: William Nylander (2), Nikita Soshnikov, Travis Dermott.

Invitee goaltender Lucas Peressini (Kingston) won’t love his performance, but it’s worth noting, on the late tying goal (which at first seemed odorous), the initial shot was stopped and steered wide before bounding off of Nylander’s skate and in. In any event, the games are sloppy and the results matter much less than the individual performances in this tournament.

Game #1 (Starting) Lineup:

Lucas Peressini

Game in Six Minutes:

Sheldon Keefe Post Game Presser:

A few notes (@TOTruculent):

– There was a nice early rush in this game by Dmytro Timashov, who carried the puck into danger and used his body on the end boards to protect it. If Brady Vail had been paying attention at all in the attacking zone, the possession would have gone somewhere.

– William Nylander stood out early and often, including an early shift where he looked comfortable stickhandling through the neutral zone before tracking back all the way to the low slot and intercepting a pass that would have been dangerous. He turned it and was quickly out – a defensively conscious play.

He beats the goalie clean here, nonchalantly snapping it in the shortside top corner followed by a celebration like he’s been there before:

And then, his ability to just open it right up, leading the rush in transition, leads to goal number two on the night:

Pretty obvious this warmup tournament isn’t much of a challenge for him at this point.

– Frederik Gauthier’s first shift left an impression for me. He’s still big, still positions himself smartly – I didn’t get to see him work with the puck much, but his acceleration burst out of the Leafs’ own zone was a step I’ve never seen him have before. He still wasn’t much of a play driver overall on the night, though – a presence, but not a playmaker, is the best way I can describe his impact. Seems in better condition than this time last year, but not sure his game has elevated to match it.

– In one of Travis Dermott’s early shifts, he was chasing the puck a bit. It got the Leafs into some trouble in their own zone, but midway through the shift, he seemed to consciously settle himself down and take up position just off the low slot against an encroaching winger. He broke up a one-timer play that would have otherwise been an easy 2-0 tap-in. Encouraging to see him adapt mid-shift. Lots of intelligent from this player. He topped off his night with a goal off the point on the powerplay to make it 4-3 late:

Dermott and Rinat Valiev – who was moving really well out there and worked the give and go with Nylander prior to his first goal in the second period on the powerplay – were standouts on the backend.

– I was about to write a Tweet nitpicking what I thought was a slow start by Mitch Marner, when he had one of those mind-changing shifts about 15 minutes into the period that might go unnoticed by some. He started by going for not one, but two hits in the attacking zone (smartly pulling up on both after some clever defensive side-stepping) then made it all the way back to his own net, all the way down low essentially picking up the play as a third defensemen. He laid down to block a shot in close, completely taking away the lower half of the net from an Ottawa player who had an opening after a behind-the-net play. Two seconds later he was on his feet and part of the rush leading the other way. If that’s his response to a coach saying something on the bench that was similar to what I was initially going to Tweet – colour me encouraged.

– The first power play featuring the Marner-Nylander-Kapanen combination was interesting. I immediately thought, wouldn’t it be great if the Leafs could make that line with three right-handed shots work? Well, they didn’t score, but they generated some great chances. Nylander was playing Kessel’s old position on the near side half boards, Marner in tight to the net on the near side, and Kapanen on the far side faceoff circle. Routine play: Nylander carries it in, dishes to Marner, who one-times it across – just not quite on target to Kapanen. Basic set play, but if they can learn to make that work at full speed, wow. Maybe Timashov switches places with Kapanen on that unit to give them a left-handed shot to work with?

– TJ Foster was an underrated player tonight. Lots of interesting, quick reactions and moves in close and made some terrific plays through the neutral zone (including one blue-line-to-blue-line pass on the diagonal).

– Martins Dzierkals: crazy moves, great energy, lots of creativity, but a lot of times it seemed to go nowhere. Every play he tried to make started to look dangerous before fizzling out. Promising, but he needed to finish plays more often. Worth noting that it was his fearless dart to the net front that set the stage for Soshnikov’s 1-1 goal in the first.

– Matt Finn: invisible for most of the game, but then made a key play later on that displayed a lot of maturity. He was cross-checked in the face at the Senators bench by Gabriel Gagne and did not even flinch in a retaliatory way. Gagne was taken off and the Leafs scored on the ensuing power play. It was 3-3 at the time, with three minutes left. Encouraging to see that kind of decision making under pressure.

– The other Leaf goal of the night, off the stick of Soshnikov:

Some more scattered thoughts from tonight are in the live tweet stream below. Who did you like tonight?