Auston Matthews inches closer to 50 in Toronto Maple Leafs win against Seattle Kraken
Auston Matthews picked a perfect time to register his third hattrick of the season.
Playing on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Arena, Matthews scored the game’s first, goal along with two clutch third-period goals during what was a momentum-swinging 6-4 win against the expansion Seattle Kraken.
Matthews, who now has six hattricks in his career, took another giant step towards successfully defending his hold as the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner. During this Tuesday night comeback win at Scotiabank Arena, Matthews showed a flair for the dramatics as his three goals now give him 43 on the year, which is five ahead of the runner-up in Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl.
Riding the momentum of a two-point Monday night performance in a 5-4 road win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Matthews didn’t take long 24 hours later to make his mark against the Kraken.
In quickly making that mark, Matthews put a charge into the Scotiabank Arena faithful when just over three minutes into regulation he scored the game’s all-important first goal.
He would also go on to register two third-period goals with one of them trying things up at 4-4 and the hattrick goal being scored into an open net which resulted in a celebration of hats being tossed out onto the ice.
The Leafs number one line remained scorching hot as rookie Michael Bunting produced two third-period assists while line-mate Mitch Marner had an assist along with scoring the eventual winning goal, and Matthews as mentioned earlier had the three goals.
Meanwhile, in goal, Leafs Jack Campbell who has been under so much scrutiny made 26 saves in improving to 24-9-2 on the season.
Early in the first, Toronto found themselves on the power play when a little over three minutes into regulation, they capitalized when Matthews who was parked on the left face-off dot, took a pass from William Nylander before wiring it home and giving the Leafs that all-important 1-0 lead.
However, that lead wouldn’t last long as Seattle, a little under two minutes later replied as Carson Soucy banged home a loose puck for his seventh of the year which made it a brand- new game.
It didn’t stay tied for long as the Leafs scored consecutive goals starting with captain John Tavares who just shy of the halfway mark scored on a breakaway which was followed by Nylander who at the 5:14 mark scored his 22nd goal which came on the power-play as they found themselves seemingly in control with a 3-1 lead.
In this momentum-swinging game Seattle showed strong resiliency as they bounced back with consecutive goals from Alex Wennberg with his seventh and two minutes and twenty-nine seconds later Colin Blackwell who shorthanded scored his eighth to once again tie things up only this time after two complete periods.
Seattle continued in the third to generate chances and were rewarded as they jumped out to what would be a temporary lead when former St. Louis Blues player Jaden Schwartz just shy of seven minutes in scored his seventh to give Seattle a 4-3 lead.
From that point, the Leafs first line once again took over as Matthews just past the nine-minute mark received quite the loud ovation after scoring his second and 42nd of the year in tying things up at four.
Only 40 seconds later, the Leafs on another power play went ahead to stay as Marner scored his 23rd goal of the year which turned out to be the winning goal. The biggest accomplishment for Leafs fans came when with 42 seconds left Matthews took that one giant leap towards 50 goals when he scored his 43rd goal of the season into an open net to seal an important to two points for the Leafs.
The Leafs, who in this game went 3 for 6 on the powerplay, will next see action on Thursday at Scotiabank Arena when the red-hot Arizona Coyotes come to town with a 7 p.m. opening faceoff.
3:18 PPG- Auston Matthews (41)
William Nylander (30), Morgan Rielly (40)
5:21 Carson Soucy (7)
Mason Appleton (10), Colin Blackwell (7)
9:55 John Tavares (19)
Pierre Engvall (12), T.J. Brodie (13)
5 :14 PPG William Nylander (22)
T.J. Brodie (14), Ondrej Kase (13)
9 :20 Alex Wennberg (7)
Marcus Johansson (15), Jordan Eberle (18)
11 :49 SHG- Colin Blackwell (8)
Yanni Gourde (21)
5 :57 Jaden Schwartz (7)
Jeremy Lauzon (5), Calle Jarnkrok (14)
9 :03 Auston Matthews (42) 4 – 4
Michael Bunting (26), Mitch Marner (39)
9:43 PPG- Mitchell Marner (23)
John Tavares (35)
19:18 EN-Auston Matthews (43)
Timothy Liljegren (13)