"Matthews Makes History as Fifth Player to Achieve Back-to-Back Hat Tricks in NHL"

 





Auston Matthews scored his second hat trick in two games to open the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Minnesota Wild 7-4 on Saturday night.

For Toronto, William Nylander had two goals and one assist, and Ilya Samsonov had 28 saves. Calle Jarnkrok had a goal and an assist, and Tyler Bertuzzi also scored. Mitchell Marner and Morgan Rielly each had two assists.

Matthews joins Alex Ovechkin (2017-18), Cy Denneny (1917-18), Joe Malone (1917-18) and Reg Noble (1917) as the first in NHL history to have consecutive hat tricks. He became the fifth player to start the season. -18).

"I want to play at the highest level I can every night," Matthews said after the win. "I don't really think about the past or the past few years. It's about today. I'm just trying to go out there and do my best and do what I can to help the team."

Matthews now has nine career hat tricks, tied for fifth in Maple Leafs history and the first Toronto player to score consecutive hat tricks since Wendell Clark in 1994.

"He's coming in fresh and healthy," Toronto manager Sheldon Keefe said. "He's had a very good offseason. I don't think he cares how many goals he scores. He cares how many wins we win."

Matt Boldy, Ryan Hartman, Marco Rossi and Brandon Duhaime scored for Minnesota. Filip Gustafsson stopped 26 shots.

Toronto, which won Wednesday's season opener with a 6-5 shootout win over Montreal, fell behind when Hartman hit a shot past Samsonov at 9:32 of the first period.

Then Matthews started taking over. The center, who scored a career-high 60 goals while winning the 2021-22 NHL MVP, beat Gustafsson in 10 minutes, 54 seconds.

Making it 2-1 at 12:35 on a 4-on-3 power play, Matthews' shot from an off angle hit Minnesota's stick for his fifth goal of the fourth period.

"Obviously, you can't expect to get hat tricks back to back," Keefe said. "But I'm getting a little bit more comfortable and getting used to having big nights in Auston and making a big impact. It's nice to have back-to-back nights at the start of the season."

Nylander then attacked the crowd with some impressive individual skill late in the period, outrunning two defenders and scoring his second goal.

"Willie's goal tonight, Auston's goal tonight, it gives us some breathing room to find our game, because we're definitely still finding it," Keefe said. Told.

Gustafsson made 41 saves in a 2-0 win against the Florida Panthers on Thursday, and Bertuzzi scored his first goal for the Maple Leafs on another power play at 3:35 of the second game, giving Toronto a 4-0 lead on the night. I conceded the match.

But the Wild fought back when Boldy beat Samsonov 34 seconds later, Rossi scored his first NHL goal at 9:51 and it was 4-3 40 minutes later.

Samsonov made an incredible save to deny Rossi's second goal, and Gustafsson denied Matthews on the power play early in the third.

The Leafs got back within two points at the 9:54 mark when Jarnkrok finished off a great pass from Rielly, and at the 10:25 mark Matthews completed a wraparound pass.

"He feels it," Riley said of Matthews. “If your guys can do that and control the game and put the puck in the net, it gives us a chance to win.”

Nylander then added his second of the night and third overall at 12:14 of the third period.

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