Hoffman strikes twice as Senators down Leafs in pre-season opener

Mike Hoffman scored twice in the first period to help the Senators punish the Maple Leafs 6-2.

OTTAWA — Pre-season game or not, Mike Babcock was less than impressed after the Ottawa Senators beat his Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2 Monday night.

“Any way you look at it we got slapped,” said the Leafs head coach.

Mike Hoffman scored twice to lead the Senators and Mark Stone, Tyler Randell, Gabriel Gagne and Cody Ceci also scored for Ottawa.

Craig Anderson looked solid playing the first half of the game, allowing one goal on 16 shots. Daniel Taylor, slated to play in AHL Belleville this year, allowed one goal on 15 shots.

“I said this morning we weren’t looking at the score, winning or losing, it’s not about that,” said Senators coach Guy Boucher.

“I think it was a good night for us, but it’s just the beginning and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Auston Matthews and William Nylander scored for the Leafs.

Curtis McElhinney started the game and allowed four goals on 12 shots before Garret Sparks came in midway through the second. Sparks allowed two goals on 14 shots.

Hoffman said that while the win was a nice bonus, the Senators want to use these pre-season games to come together as a group.

“I think the biggest thing for everyone in this dressing room and team is to try and get off to a good start and try to get the bad habits out of the way that might have been created over the summer not playing an organized game,” said Hoffman. “It’s getting the systems down … try to build off each day and each game. Don’t take too much from it, it’s more getting into routines and getting into good habits.”

The two teams are back in action Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre.

Highly touted Senators prospect Colin White left the game holding his left arm after blocking a Calle Rosen shot late in the third. Boucher said the team would need to wait for the swelling to go down to know what they’re dealing with.

Three faceoff violations were called during the game, which Boucher called a symptom of the league’s new faceoff rules.

“Hopefully by the time the season starts everyone will have the right habits so we can stay out of the box,” said Boucher.

With the Senators leading 6-1, Nylander beat Taylor with a laser of a shot on the power play late in the third.

Trailing 4-1, the Leafs had a great opportunity to get back in the game with a two-man advantage for 1:13, but were unable to create any significant chances.

Ottawa made it 5-1 as Gagne fought for a loose puck in the crease and slid it behind Sparks. Less than two minutes later, Ceci finished off some nice passing from Stone and Zack Smith to make it 6-1.

The Senators jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first as Hoffman netted a pair, while Randell and Stone also scored.

Hoffman looked in great form as he jumped on his own rebound on his first one and then had some great moves before beating McElhinney off his backhand.

“It’s not what we wanted,” said Toronto’s Morgan Rielly of the game’s outcome. “It’s the first game with a new group of guys that never played together before so I think there’s a few positives to take away. I think we got better as the game went on.

“We didn’t come out very well and obviously they came out hard. There’s lot of areas to work on.”