TORONTO – When you grow up like Aston Mathews, when you’re doing what he’s doing every night for the most-watched team in the National Hockey League, it reaches a point where you can almost wipe out the sun. But Toronto Maple Leafs’ latest win against the Montreal Canadians on Saturday night was another episode of the universally acclaimed Matthews show, with a few subplots worthy of illumination.
For a minute, though, it really seemed like there was nothing to talk about except Matthews’ brilliance. With the game winning 3-2 in Toronto, it looked like No. 34 – breaking Rick Vaughn’s single-season franchise goal record in Dallas on Thursday – could be something like Daryl Sittler’s famous 10-point night in many years ago.
Mathews started scoring the first goal and had 6:28 left in the first period. It happened in a broken game that forced Montreal goalkeeper Jack Allen to leave the game as he injured himself while extending his left leg in a failed attempt to stop Matthews’ backhand. Twenty-seven seconds later, Mathews hit the blue line and substituted goalkeeper Sam Montembult’s first shot into the back of the net.
2-0 home side; The crowd loses its mind and goals Nos. 57 and 58 are already on board for Matthews, who clearly touched on the video tribute he received earlier this time in honor of No. 55, a new team-building goal. The NHL’s first 60-goal season in a decade looked like it could happen before the break.
“There’s a moment,” said Leeds coach Sheldon Keefe after the game. “Especially [when] The second one goes in, [Jason Spezza] He turned his eyes to me and said, ‘This is something special.’ No doubt. It’s a joke. I was amazed at the way he was playing, he stopped two, to be honest; You thought he was going to have a serious night. “
If Spaza and Kiev are still stunned by Matthews’ magic, imagine what it would be like for the guys who recently got front row tickets to the show. “The guys we traded on the trade deadline commented after the game about his game and his performance and what he’s capable of,” said Leafs defender Morgan Riley.
It’s not hard to see why people are double-taking. Matthews’ recent pairing of Marker has given him 51 goals in his past 50 appearances, making him the first person since Mario Lemieux in the mid-90s to score 50 goals in 50-game stretches in the same season. He is currently scoring .87 goals per game, a rate that has seen only 10 men (21 different events) finish a season in league history. Lemieux was the last to do this a year before Mathews was born.
Even then, despite the Canadians having three shots after Mathews’ two goals, the cover remained in the game. The Canadians closed the gap before the end of the first period and closed the second 3-2 in the middle frame.
Although the crowd was occasionally overwhelmed by Matthews’ celebrations or the fact that Mitch Marner continued his point-streak in the 13th game with the help of the first period, they were forced to bite some nails during the matter as Leifs tried to win. The bloodthirsty rival living in the basement who is playing decent hockey nowadays has beaten Leafs with these squads twice before and oh, however, delivered his last playoff nightmare to Toronto less than 12 months ago.
There weren’t just two more points on this line; It was a chance to beat the Canadians, hit 100 points in the season and officially win a play-off spot. It was an opportunity to send fans home that felt better than they had when they were ready to receive their record-breaking star at the Scotiabank Arena. And for what Matthews did on the attack, good vibes would have died without some significant contribution to the other end of the rink.
“For good reason, we’re celebrating Austin and we’re celebrating Mitch, [but] A lot of really good things are happening around our team and across our lineup, ”Keefe said. “Add another to the list tonight because I thought Eric Calgren was outstanding. For me, it was his best game – at least the most comfortable I felt [watching him] Official. “
Colgren – forced from his most recent start to a jaw-dropping shoot in Florida on Tuesday, and just the seventh start of his NHL career – was great when called. He closed two first-period breakways and another clear 2-on-1 chance during that time. In the second, he stoned Josh Anderson in a point-blank one-timer while playing four-on-four hockey. And when Brendon Gallagher was able to hide behind the defense in the third period and get alone in the Toronto goal, Calgren closed the wicket to deny the Montreal forward’s five-hole effort.
“I feel better,” said the Swedish teenager. “I haven’t really been satisfied with my game in the last few games, so it was nice to win and that feeling today.”
In front of Kallgren, the Leafs continue to take the form of a defense corp. Jake Muzin has played his third game since returning from injury earlier this week. Meanwhile, period acquisition Mark Giordano is now fit for 10 games in blue and white and the team has extended that to 8-1-1. Giordano was on ice in the second half against Montreal, as Leifs was one goal ahead despite having one man in the penalty box. Muzin and Giordano allow Kiev to balance his pairings in a way that could mean increasingly good things for the less-glazed edge of the ice.
“It simply came to our notice then [fewer] It’s a time when teams can shift on us instead of shifting, “Keefe said. “We seem to be able to put out the fire quickly because we have guys in each pair who have the ability to do it and of course ‘Geo’ is one of our best.”
Still, you know the next time the leaves hit the ice – they will host the Buffalo Sabers on Tuesday – the discussion will inevitably go back to the guy who did all the damage up front. Two more goals
Matthews will have just the third 60-goal of the last 24 seasons after hitting 65 at Steven Stamcos in 2011-12 and Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08.
“Of course he’s doing something special right now,” Riley said. “And it’s a lot of fun to be a part of it.”