Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
WATCH: Matthew Knies scores a beauty and fights a Penguin in his first two shifts (Updated)
2 months ago
Matthew Knies is going to be a problem.
For other teams. Early in the first period of Saturday’s game, the 21-year-old power forward scored his seventh goal of the season after making a nice move at the blue line, and then using his speed and size to drive the net and beat Pittsburgh’s goaltender. This was just his first shift of the game.
In his second shift of the game, Knies decided to channel his inner Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter (it’s UFC 296 tonight, after all) and beat the crap out of John Ludvig, who boarded Max Domi in the offensive zone. This was Knies’ first fight according to Hockeyfights.com, so he’s 100% in extracurricular activities.
After playing just three games with the Leafs in the regular season, Knies broke onto the scene with the Leafs in the playoffs, scoring a goal and four points in seven games before a Sam Bennett crosscheck and take down took him out of the playoffs.
Knies has played even better in the 2023-24 season, scoring seven goals and 12 points in 25 and a third of a game. He’s picked up 19 penalty minutes. Coming into the game, Knies has a 46.7% goal share, and a 42.5% expected goal share.
After starting the season in the bottom six, he’s moved up to the first line to play with Austin Matthews, playing 186:18 minutes of even strength hockey with the best scorer in the league. However, without Matthews in the lineup on Saturday, Domi moved up in the lineup to centre Knies and Mitch Marner, and has rewarded the Leafs with two assists.
Knies is just an assist away from his first Gordie Howe hat trick, and with a 3-0 lead to open the second period, he’ll have 40 minutes to get it.
Editor Update: Knies now has the Gordie Howe Hat Trick:
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