Lucas Viveiros | Report
Lead by their familiar superstars, Auston Matthews, Morgan Rielly, and John Tavares, the Toronto Maple Leafs slammed the Florida Panthers 6-1 on Thursday evening.
The Buds were able to grasp revenge in this game, after losing to the Panthers only five days prior by a final score of 4-3 in the sunshine state.
Toronto took hold of the lead late in the first period on the power-play, with Auston Matthews burying his 18th of the season. On the goal, Morgan Rielly calmly found Mitch Marner who sent a beautiful cross-seam pass to Matthews, who then would make no mistake on finishing, leaving Roberto Luongo with no chance.
The Leafs took this 1-0 lead into the middle frame, and Matthews was able to double it on a one-timer fed by Morgan Rielly. Once again, Toronto was able to stretch Luongo from side to side, as the goaltender had no chance on this perfect shot from Matthews to make it 2-0.
A few minutes later, Toronto seemed to have a 3-0 goal from Nazem Kadri, but the call on the ice would be reversed due to a kicking motion by Kadri’s left skate.
Later in the period, Kadri would get a goal for himself on a two-on-one perfectly played with Connor Brown. The Leafs would score their third of the hockey game and for a third time on a side-to-side play, to make it 3-0.
Frederik Andersen didn’t have to be outstanding, but when he was called upon he was there to make the necessary saves, stopping a total of 25 shots on the night.
The Leafs 3-0 lead would be carried into the third, where team leader in goals John Tavares would slam home his 22nd of the season on a power-play to add to the lead.
Tavares would find the twine yet again at 5:41 of the final period, when Mitch Marner circled halfway around the Panthers net, slammed the breaks, and found Tavares all alone in front to make it 5-0. As a result, Luongo would get the boot, and former Maple Leaf, James Reimer would enter the game to a load ovation from the Toronto faithful.
Under five minutes later, Florida would ruin Andersen’s shutout bid on a power-play tally from Henrik Borgstrom, making it 5-1.
But Toronto would add to the salt in the wounds of the Panthers, as Mitch Marner would try to find Matthews for the hat-trick, and accidentally score on a pass, cementing the final score at 6-1.
Revisit the game’s highlights below.
Up next, the Maple Leafs will welcome Mika Zibanejad and the New York Rangers to Toronto on Saturday night.
Game time is scheduled for 7:00pm from Scotiabank Arena, and can be seen on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.
More news from the ice
- The Maple Leafs are now 14-1-3 all time when Auston Matthews score two or more goals in a game
- Auston Matthews has 18 two-goal games since entering the league in 2016=2017, that total is second in the NHL only behind Alex Ovechkin with 19 in that same time span
- Morgan Rielly is the third fastest d-man in Leafs history to reach 40 points in a season (35 games)
- Zach Hyman will miss at least the next three weeks with an ankle injury
- D-man Igor Ozhiganov was a last minute scratch due to an illness, meaning Martin Marincin took his slot after sitting out the previous 17 games
Out of town scoreboard
Thursday, December 20th
Anaheim 1 Boston 3
Nashville 1 Philadelphia 2
Minnesota 1 Pittsburgh 2
Detroit 4 Carolina 1
New Jersey 1 Columbus 2
Chicago 5 Dallas 2
Tampa Bay 5 Calgary 4 (SO)
Montreal 2 Arizona 1
St. Louis 1 Vancouver 5
NY Islanders 2 Vegas 1
Winnipeg 5 San Jose 3
More coverage to follow. Image from rd news now.