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Matthews’ 5-point night, Nylander reaches 500 career points as the Maple Leafs embarrass the Ducks 9-2

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Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
1 month ago
After two wins to open up their three-game homestand, the Toronto Maple Leafs closed out their third game at home last night in the final meeting with the Anaheim Ducks, looking to complete the three-game sweep and continue climbing the standings.

First period:

Last night was the second and final meeting of the season between the Maple Leafs and the Ducks. And if you watched the first meeting in Anaheim in early January, you might remember the Ducks’ goalie, Lukas Dostal, who almost won the game for his team, as he made 55 saves in a narrow 2-1 overtime loss.
Well, he was back in the crease for them last night, and it’s safe to say it didn’t go quite the same for the 23-year-old netminder.
Just 3:41 into the game, Auston Matthews, coming off his fifth hat-trick of the season, received a pass from Matthew Knies in the slot and wired his 46th goal of the season past Dostal to get Scotiabank Arena on its feet early.
Although they were held without a shot through the first three minutes, once Matthews opened the scoring, it was evident that Toronto was going to heavily outplay Anaheim.
The Maple Leafs got a power play opportunity less than three minutes after Matthews’ goal, and it was the second unit that got their team on the board. In his fifth game with the big club this season, Max Lajoie fed Nick Robertson on the half wall, and he found Bobby McMann all alone and picked the top right corner for his sixth of the season, doubling Toronto’s lead.
With an early 2-0 lead and the scoring chances coming in bunches for the home team, they were rewarded with another goal off an offensive zone face-off win from Max Domi. William Nylander picked up the loose puck and fed Jake McCabe, who fired a shot from distance, beating Dostal and scoring off the post and in for his fifth of the season.
At this point, Toronto was severely outplaying the Ducks on the scoreboard and the shot clock. Things got heated after Nylander was called for a penalty, and Radko Gudas and Domi dropped the gloves for a quick fight after the whistle. The takedown went to Gudas, as expected.
Whether that fight sparked the Ducks or not, they eventually found the back of the net on their power play after Frank Vatrano beat Martin Jones for his 24th of the season, cutting into their deficit.
However, roughly six minutes later, on their second power play, Nylander, sitting on 499 career points, fired his 28th of the season over Dostal’s shoulder for career point 500 and got the three-goal lead right back.
Toward the end of the first period, Anaheim took another penalty, sending Toronto to their third power play.
Toronto entered the first intermission up 4-1 and outshot Anaheim 18-3.
 

Second period:

As both teams came out for the second period, Anaheim made a goalie change, with John Gibson entering the game for Lukas Dostal.
With part of their third power play carrying over to the second period, Auston Matthews decided to score again, giving him 47 on the season, one goal shy from his sixth hat-trick of the season.
Almost immediately after making it 5-1, Max Jones was whistled for high-sticking Domi, sending Toronto to their fourth power play, and it went how you would’ve expected it to go.
With John Tavares out of the lineup last night, Tyler Bertuzzi earned a bump to the first power play unit in hopes of bumping his slump. Unfortunately, his bad luck continued because he rang a shot off the post with Gibson out of position. However, seconds later, Matthews fed him in front of the net for an easy tap-in, and Bertuzzi finally got one past the goal line, giving him seven on the season.
The domination continued minutes later, and who else but Auston Matthews to complete his sixth hat-trick of the season, to give his team the commanding 7-1 lead with more than half a game remaining. Matthew Knies spun and fired a shot on net, and Matthews gently redirected it past John Gibson for his 48th goal of the season in just his 52nd game.
After Matthews made it 7-1 with another hat trick, the team took it down another notch, not trying as hard given the score. Anaheim looked slightly better than they did in the first period and held a sizeable shot advantage over Toronto for parts of the middle frame. However, Toronto’s finishing ability was just that much better.
Roughly 12 minutes after Matthews’ hat-trick, the man who scored his first career hat trick against the Blues last Tuesday, Bobby McMann, scored his second of the night after initially drawing a penalty on Radko Gudas.
Things got a little rough after the McMann goal. Gudas was likely embarrassed and mad that he took a penalty, got outmuscled by him, and allowed him to score, so what did he do? He gave him a soft cross-check to the back, and Domi did not like that at all. The two went at each other, but the referees got in there quickly to break it up.
Toronto entered the second intermission up 8-1 and held a 27-13 shot advantage over Anaheim.
 

Third period:

Heading into the final period up 8-1, Toronto was probably hoping they would play the final 20 minutes with a running clock, and I bet the Ducks felt the same way.
As mentioned above, it was evident Toronto stopped competing to a certain level once the score was slightly out of reach early in the second period and continued that in the third. They allowed the Ducks to generate more scoring chances than they did earlier in the game and didn’t care to pile on more goals. If they scored, they scored. But that was not their objective in the third period.
With the competition level down due to the lopsided score, it wasn’t that entertaining of a period, aside from everybody on the Ducks shying away from dropping the gloves with Ryan Reaves.
The Ducks eventually got on the board again with a little over five minutes left in regulation when Ryan Strome ripped home his ninth of the season to cut Toronto’s lead to seven. However, Nick Robertson would score his eighth of the season two and a half minutes later, extending their lead to eight again with a little over two minutes to go in the game.
The clock ran out, and the Maple Leafs secured their third consecutive win, sweeping their three-game homestand, and improved their record to 8-3-0 in their last 11 games with a dominating effort over Anaheim.

Who stood out:

Auston. Taylour. Matthews. I’ve probably said this many times this season, but I feel like a broken record when I talk about this guy. He just scored a hat trick against the Flyers, and we’re talking about another hat trick from him. It’s absurd what he’s been doing this season. He has scored 48 goals in 52 games, including six hat-tricks, the most in a single season in Maple Leafs franchise history. With his five-point outing last night, Matthews has climbed into a three-way tie with Artemi Panarin and William Nylander for sixth place in the league’s scoring with 71 points.
Aside from Matthews’ first career five-point night, it’s not hard to pick out who had good games when you look at the box score. However, when the score is 9-2, with Toronto barely trying after it was 5-1 early in the second period and allowing the Ducks to try and score, the advanced analytics say a handful of guys didn’t have good games.
But throwing that out the window, in a 9-2 game, I guess you can look at the box score and judge who had a good game and who didn’t. With that said, William Nylander registered his eighth three-point game of the season, including reaching the 500-point mark in his career with his first-period goal.
Speaking of three-point nights, Bobby McMann continues his hot streak after two more goals and an assist on Nick Robertson’s third-period goal. The 27-year-old is now up to seven goals and six assists for 13 points in 29 games this season.
I could go on and on about more guys and their performances from yesterday’s big win, but I don’t want to drag this postgame article on. But I will mention Max Domi (two assists and a fight), Timothy Liljegren (three assists, five points in his last two games), and Tyler Bertuzzi (finally bumping his slump) as some other guys who impressed in the blowout win over the Ducks among many others.
 
You can catch the Toronto Maple Leafs’ next game on Monday afternoon when they travel to St. Louis to take on the Blues in an early afternoon tilt. Puck drop is scheduled for 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT.

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