Matthew Knies scores first NHL goal to get Leafs within one in Game 1 vs. Panthers
Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
By Mike Gould22 days ago
Toronto Maple Leafs winger Matthew Knies scored his first career National Hockey League playoff goal to get his team on the board in the second period of Tuesday’s playoff game against the Florida Panthers at Scotiabank Arena.
Knies, 20, converted off a pass from none other than Auston Matthews to cut the Panthers’ lead to 2–1 at the 8:09 mark of the second period. Morgan Rielly picked up the secondary assist on the goal.
After receiving Matthews’ pass, Knies drove toward Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and deked past him before depositing a cheeky backhand shot into a wide-open net.
Knies joined Wyatt Johnston and Matty Beniers as the only members of the 2021 draft class to score a Stanley Cup Playoff goal.
The Maple Leafs originally selected Knies in the second round (No. 57 overall) of the 2021 NHL Draft. The Phoenix, Ariz. product signed with the team in April after wrapping up a successful two-year NCAA career at the University of Minnesota.
Through 73 games over two collegiate seasons with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Knies collected 36 goals and 75 points. He was named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the nation’s top NCAA men’s hockey player, after his sophomore year.
Knies collected an assist in three games with the Maple Leafs down the stretch in the regular season before racking up three helpers in five games during their Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Now, he has their first goal in the second round since 2004.
Nick Cousins and Sam Bennett scored to put the Panthers up 2–0 by the 7:58 mark of the second period in Game 1. Knies’ goal brought the Maple Leafs back within one just 11 seconds after Bennett’s insurance marker.
Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s game, the Maple Leafs and Panthers will return to action for Game 2 of their semifinal playoff series at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET.
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