Leafs Auston Matthews capitalizes with shootout winner against Ducks
Auston Matthews capped off what was a dominating performance by scoring the shootout winner on Wednesday night against a relentless Anaheim Ducks team.
The Toronto Maple Leafs who were playing at home in an empty Scotiabank Arena fired 44 shots including seven by Matthews on Ducks goalie John Gibson during a 4-3 shootout win. Leafs fans had plenty of reasons to be encouraged as they witnessed them generate 75 shot attempts at the Ducks net while successfully scoring three power play goals.
Meanwhile making franchise history on this night was starting goalie Jack Campbell who including overtime made 20 saves in becoming the second-fastest goalie in Leafs history to reach the 20- win plateau in a season. Campbell needed only 30 starts which is right behind George Hainsworth who accomplished the feat in 28 games way back during the 1934-35 season.
Toronto, who were coming off a 3-2-1 road trip also got strong performances from forwards William Nylander, John Tavares and Mitch Marner who not only scored a power play goal but also each had four shots on goal.
Anaheim gained the early momentum when just three minutes into regulation they struck for the opening goal. It wouldn’t be until late in that opening period when with less than three minutes remaining Marner capitalized on the power play with his 10th goal of the season to make it a brand -new game.
It didn’t stay a new game for long as Toronto got a huge lift when Nylander scored the Leafs second power play goal and his 17th of the season, which proved huge as it came with only 39 seconds left and gave the Buds a 2-1 lead heading to the second.
Once again Toronto proved clutch on the power play as this time it was Tavares who with under four minutes remaining in the second cashed in with what was his 16th of the year to give Toronto that scary all-familiar 3-1 lead.
As Leafs fans probably remember during that recent trip, Toronto couldn’t hold leads of 4-1 against the Colorado Avalanche and 3-1 leads against the New York Rangers, Vegas Golden Knights, and St. Louis Blues.
That alarming pattern continued as Anaheim came off the mat with a late second-period goal from forward Jakob Silfverberg and a third-period tally from Vinni Lettieri to set the stage for overtime and an eventual shootout.
In the shootout, Toronto’s first shooter Jason Spezza scored, and shortly afterward Matthews came through in the clutch to give the Leafs a big two points.
The Leafs will next see action on Saturday, January 29th when they visit Little Caesars Arena for a 7 p.m. puck drop against the Detroit Red Wings.
2:46 Sam Steel (5)
17:18 PPG- Mitch Marner (10)
Morgan Rielly (29), William Nylander (23)
19:21 PPG- William Nylander (17) 1- 2
John Tavares (22), Auston Matthews (17)
16:08 PPG- John Tavares (16)
Mitch Marner (18), Auston Matthews (18)
17:21 Jakob Silfverberg (3) 2
Buddy Robinson (2), Sam Carrick (4)
13:23 Vinni Lettieri (5)
Kevin Shattenkirk (17), Sam Steel (7)
Jason Spezza – Leafs goal
Trevor Zegras – Ducks goal
Auston Matthews- Leafs goal