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Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews reaches one-hundred-point plateau in win vs. Washington Capitals


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By Neil Becker

This has truly been a breakthrough season for Toronto Maple Leafs young superstar Auston Matthews.
As all Leafs fans know, earlier this month at American Airlines Center against the Dallas Stars, Matthews broke the franchise record for most goals when he scored his 55th and 56th goals in a 4-3 overtime win. This 24-year-old who scored his 56th in overtime to win it, shattered a 40- year record set by Rick Vaive in 1981-82 when he scored 54.
On Thursday night in a 7-3 win at Scotiabank Arena against the Washington Capitals, Matthews also scored his 100th point and became only the third player in franchise history to reach the 100- point plateau in a season. The other two were Darryl Sittler and Doug Gilmour. Sittler scored exactly 100 points in the 1977/78 campaign while Gilmour scored 127 points in the 1992-93 season and 111 points the following year.
Looking to bounce back after a flat performance two nights earlier in a 5-2 home loss against the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto gave the 18,466 in attendance lots to cheer about starting with forward Michael Bunting who broke a 17- game scoring drought when at the 4:37 mark of the first period, he scored his 21st. goal. Getting the secondary assist on the goal was Matthew’s with his 100th point of the year.
Toronto, who outshot the Capitals by an 11-4 first period margin, grabbed a two-goal lead when with less than seven minutes remaining, forward Pierre Engvall made a pass to a streaking William Nylander who with two Capitals in hot pursuit, blasted the puck stick side for a 2-0 lead.

Leafs fans received a huge scare when with less than five minutes remaining in the first period, Capitals forward Tom Wilson was skating in on the for-check and ended up crashing into goalie Jack Campbell. Campbell’s mask went flying off but he would stay in the game.

In the second period, Washington grabbed some momentum when a little past the halfway mark defenceman John Carlson scored his 15th of the year to make it a one-goal game.

That momentum wouldn’t last long as Toronto would go on a run that would see them take control by scoring four straight goals in just over a six-minute span.

Starting things off was defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin who at the 10:19 mark of the second scored his first as a Leaf. It only took 18 seconds for the Leafs to strike again as Nylander scored his second of the game and 30th of the season to not only give the Leafs a 4-1 lead but also chase Capitals starting goalie Ilya Samsonov from the nets.

The Leafs took full control when they added two more goals from forward Ilya Mikheyev with his 16th of the season followed less than two minutes later at the 16:25 mark by Bunting with his second and 22nd of the year for a commanding 6-1 lead.

Washington would get one back when with only 53 seconds left in the second Wilson scored his 24th goal.

A little over a minute into the third Toronto regained that five-goal lead as Mikheyev scored his second of the game and 17th of the season.

Rounding out the scoring with 8:02 remaining in regulation was Capitals Nic Dowd who scored his ninth of the year in what was a 7-3 Leafs win.

Toronto, who are four points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for second in the Atlantic Division have only eight regular-season games remaining until playoffs.

The Leafs next see action on Saturday night with a 7 p.m. puck-drop at Canadian Tire Centre against the Ottawa Senators.



                                 SCORING SUMMARY

                                1ST. PERIOD                               WSH –   TOR


                            4:37  Michael Bunting (21)                  0   –    1

                           Mitchell Marner (60), Auston Matthews (42)
                           13:45  William Nylander (29)                0  –     2
                            Pierre Engvall (16), Jake Muzzin (11)
                              2nd. PERIOD                                WSH –  TOR
                            10:06 John Carlson (15)                      1  –     2
                            10:19  Ilya Lyubushkin (1)                    1  –     3
                             Morgan Rielly (54), John Tavares (44)
                            10:37  William Nylander (30)                1  –     4
                             Morgan Rielly (55)
                            14:44 Ilya Mikheyev (16)                      1  –     5
                             Auston Matthews (43), John Tavares (45)
                            16:25  Michael Bunting (22)                  1  –     6
                             Pierre Engvall (17)
                             19:07  Tom Wilson (24)                        2  –     6
                             Lars Eller (16), John Carlson (51)
                             3rd. Period                                       WSH –  TOR
                             1:27 Ilya Mikheyev (17)                        2  –    7
                             Ilya Lyubushkin (11), John Tavares (46)
                           11:58  Nic Dowd (9)                               3  –     7
                            Trevor Van Riemsdyk (15), Johan Larsson (12)  


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