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Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews's NHL debut among best in league history

Toronto Maple Leafs players celebrate a first period goal by Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, bottom right, during the first period of NHL hockey action in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
October 13, 2016 - 8:03 AM

Auston Matthews became the first player in NHL history to score four goals in his regular-season debut as the Toronto Maple Leafs fell 5-4 to the Ottawa Senators in overtime on Wednesday night.

Matthews is the fifth player in NHL history to score a hat trick in his regular-season debut and the first in Maple Leafs history.

The 19-year-old Matthews was drafted first overall in the 2016 draft and was Toronto's first No. 1 selection since Wendel Clark in 1985.

He's one of several players to have memorable debuts in the NHL. Here's how five other superstars fared in their first career NHL game.

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Alex Ovechkin — The No. 1 pick from the 2004 NHL draft was the first Washington Capitals player to score twice in his first NHL game, a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 5, 2005. Ovechkin would score 52 times in his rookie season and captured the Calder Trophy at season's end.

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Sidney Crosby — The ultra-hyped superstar recorded an assist in his NHL debut on Oct. 5, 2005 — a 5-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Crosby, who was picked No. 1 overall in the 2005 draft, was a minus-two rating in his debut, recording three shots and logging 15:50 in ice time. The Cole Harbour, N.S., native would find the back of the net in his third game against Boston and finished the season with 39 goals and 102 points.

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Wayne Gretzky — One of the greatest players of all time made his NHL debut on Oct. 10, 1979 and recorded an assist in a 4-2 road loss for the Edmonton Oilers against the Chicago Blackhawks. The goal, scored by Kevin Lowe, was the first for Edmonton in the NHL after it joined the league from the World Hockey Association. Gretzky had his first NHL goal in his third game and finished the year with 51 goals and 137 points.

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Mario Lemieux — Like Matthews, Lemieux scored in his NHL debut on Oct. 11, 1984 on his first shift of the game. The Penguins legend would add an assist, although Pittsburgh fell 4-3 to the Boston Bruins. Lemieux was the No. 1 pick in the 1984 draft and finished his rookie season with 43 goals and 100 points.

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Connor McDavid — The now-Edmonton Oilers captain had two shots in his debut last fall against the St. Louis Blues but failed to record a point. The No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL draft logged 18:07 in his first game throughout 22 shifts and was a minus-one rating. A shoulder injury sidelined McDavid for a large portion of his inaugural season but he finished with 16 goals and 48 points in 45 games.

When McDavid heard about Matthews' outburst on Wednesday night he said, "I think in my first game I touched the puck four times, so it was a little bit of a different night for us on our opening nights ... I don’t know what happened, he just seemed to explode, I guess."

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News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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