Matthews gives Tavares thumbs-up after Maple Leafs opener

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John Tavares. photo courtesy NHL on twitter

Auston Matthews, who will make his preseason debut for the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Wednesday, was impressed by what he saw from center John Tavares on Tuesday.

Tavares had three points (two goals, one assist) in his preseason debut in a 4-1 win against the Senators at Kraft Hockeyville Canada in Lucan, Ontario.

“It was obviously great to see,” the 21-year-old center said. “I’m sure it’s kind of a bit of a sigh of relief for him with all the commotion going around him right now.”

Tavares, who signed a seven year, $77 million contract (average annual value $11 million) July 1, scored a power-play goal at 5:12 of the first period to tie the game 1-1. His second goal came at 6:06 of the third period, when he put in a rebound to make it 3-1.

Tavares centered a line with left wing Zach Hyman and right wing Mitchell Marner.

“He looked good out there,” Matthews said. “It’s the first preseason game so he’s just kind of trying to fine-tune everything. He’s only going to get better at this point, so it’ll be fun to watch.” — Dave McCarthy. NHL.com