Lucas Viveiros | Report
Auston Matthews scored his 100th and 101st career NHL goals, as the Toronto Maple Leafs soared past the Vegas Golden Knights 6-3.
The Leafs came into this contest looking to win their first ever game in Vegas, as last season’s trip to the Sin City resulted in a 6-3 loss on New Year’s Eve.
Toronto came out of the gates with speed, out shooting Vegas 11-3 around the halfway mark of the period. Plenty of their shots were generated with the four power-plays they received in the opening frame alone.
But, the Golden Knights would have the first glorious opportunity of the game, as Reilly Smith had clear cut breakaway shorthanded, but couldn’t beat Freddy Andersen through the five-hole.
Toronto would then make Vegas pay for failing to capitalize when Jake Gardiner would fire a slap-pass, which was tipped on the way to the goal by Andreas Johnsson, beating Fleury and making it 1-0 for the Maple Leafs.
That 1-0 scoreline would remain after 20, but just under three minutes into the second, the Golden Knights would get another unbelievable opportunity that they had to pounce on. On the play, Andersen would stop an easy slap-shot, and then attempt to play the puck to his d-man Jake Gardiner. Unfortunately for Andersen, Reilly Smith would read the play perfectly, intercepting the attempted pass and finding Paul Stastny all alone in front to even the game at one all.
Vegas would then grasp their only lead in this contest, as Oscar Lindberg would be the recipient of the goal, slapping home a drop pass from Cody Eakin to beat Andersen over the glove and make it 2-1.
But the lead would be very short lived, as under two minutes later Auston Matthews would send the puck on net for Patrick Marleau to crash the goal and jam the puck by Fleury to tie things up.
Matthews would follow up with a power-play tally at 13:25 of the second, scoring his 100th career NHL goal right through the wickets of Fleury with his patented wrist shot, putting his team ahead 3-2 heading into the third.
(Check out all of his first 100 goals below.)
Matthews legs seemed to really get going after this goal, as he was all around the net looking for more for the remainder of the evening.
However, early in the third, Vegas would come back to make things very interesting down the stretch with a William Karlsson goal to once again tie the game.
The Golden Knights would see another glorious chance passed up when Max Pacioretty had a breakaway turned aside by Andersen to keep the game tied up.
Following that, Toronto would score two goals in 55 seconds, starting with Morgan Rielly’s wrist shot from the blue-line which beat Fleury through a maze of traffic and ended up finding the twine to give the Leafs the 4-3 lead.
Matthews would then add to his special evening, scoring his second of the game by firing a laser over the blocking arm of Fleury to make it 5-3.
Mitch Marner would add a little salt to the wounds of Vegas fans by burying a two-on-one, shorthanded goal to cement the lead at 6-3, and Toronto would hang on from their to pick up their first ever franchise win in Las Vegas.
Revisit the game’s highlights below.
Up next, Auston Matthews will pay a visit to his hometown team, with the Leafs battling the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night from the dessert.
Game time is set for 7:00pm from Gila River Arena, and can be watched on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.
More news from the ice
- Auston Matthews is tied for the sixth fastest player in NHL history to score 100 goals before turning 22 in the expansion era
- He also became the third fastest Leafs player in franchise history to score 100 goals
- With the win, Frederik Andersen improved to 7-0-0 against the Western Conference on the road this season, and 10-2-1 in his last 13 starts overall
- Mitch Marner recorded his 48th assist of the year, establishing a new career high in a season
- Andreas Johnsson left the game in the second period and did not return due to a left leg injury
- Vegas d-man Deryk Engelland played in his 600th NHL game
Out of town scoreboard
Thursday, February 14
Calgary 2 Florida 3 (SO)
NY Islanders 3 Columbus 0
Ottawa 2 Detroit 3
Dallas 0 Tampa Bay 6
Montreal 1 Nashville 3
Colorado 4 Winnipeg 1
New Jersey 2 Chicago 5
St. Louisa 4 Arizona 0
Vancouver 4 Los Angeles 3 (SO)
Washington 5 San Jose 1
More coverage to follow. Image from Sportsnet.