Auston Matthews scored a pair of goals and Mitch Marner tallied three points to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-0 win against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Marner’s goal got the Maple Leafs on the board at 11:31 of the first period. He took a pass from John Tavares low in the offensive zone, spun away from Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner, eluded a check from Golden Knights rookie centre Jake Leschyshyn and deposited the puck past Lehner to the far side of the net. A brilliant skilled play.
Auston Matthews scored a pair of goals in the second period. First, he notched a power play goal at 2:59 of the second. Matthews received a pass from William Nylander, who lured the defence and goaltender to his side of the ice before firing a cross-seam pass to Matthews who launched a rocket from the left-wing circle and Lehner had little chance to stop it.
At 19:15 of the second period, Matthews took a pass from Morgan Rielly on the doorstep. After his re-direction was stopped by Lehner, Matthews buried his own rebound.
The Maple Leafs extended the lead in the third period. William Nylander was sprung by a pass from Michael Bunting and snapped a shot over Lehner’s pad to the far side.
Vegas was coming into the game shorthanded, missing forwards William Karlsson, Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Alex Tuch. Their injuries prompted the Golden Knights to claim Michael Amadio off waivers from Toronto last week.
Toronto’s highly-skilled forwards took advantage of the opportunities. The game was rather lopsided, with the Maple Leafs controlling from the first drop of the puck.
Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner heating up
Mitch Marner finished the game with a goal and two assists, matching his production through the first nine games of the season. He appears to be busting out of his early-season slump. Marner has goals in back-to-back games and he has looked decidedly more dangerous during Toronto’s three-game winning streak. He has been more consistent in terms of creating chances and using his skills to maximum effect.
Matthews tallied his second and third goals of the season, recording a dozen shot attempts and six shots on goal. He missed the first three games of the season while recovering from wrist surgery. His play since returning to action has been uneven but he is so dangerous, ready to unleash one of the league’s most dangerous shots and he had ample opportunity to let loose against Vegas.
Nylander contributed a goal and an assist. He has a team-leading eight points (4 G, 4 A) through the first 10 games. After he was Toronto’s most dangerous forward in last season’s playoff loss, Nylander appears to be taking a step forward in his development.
Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell was really tested and recorded a comfortable 26-save shutout.
Robin Lehner stopped 29 of 33 shots for the Golden Knights, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. They will play in Ottawa Thursday.
The Maple Leafs have now won three in a row, giving them a 5-4-1 record through 10 games. They are at home against the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday.
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