Matthews Records 100th Point, Maple Leafs Dominate Montreal 4-2 | 4/6/2024

Photo: Graham Hughes via The Canadian Press

The Maple Leafs visited the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Saturday, April 6th. Mitch Marner made his return to the lineup and recorded an assist in his first game back since March 7th with a lower-body injury. Toronto defeated the Canadiens 4-2, and Auston Matthews scored his 64th league-leading goal to record his 100th point this season. The Maple Leafs clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Friday, and also have won four of five. Toronto will be back home on Monday to host the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have a four-game win streak following a 4-3 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 30th.

Maple Leafs lineup against the Penguins:

Bertuzzi – Matthews – Domi

McMann – Tavares – Marner

Knies – Holmberg – Nylander

Dewar – Kampf – Reaves

Rielly – Lyubushkin

Benoit – McCabe

Giordano – Brodie

Samsonov

Woll

Canadiens lineup against the Maple Leafs:

Caufield – Suzuki – Slafkovsky

Gallagher – Newhook – Armia

Pearson – Evans – Anderson

Pezzetta – White – Harvey-Pinard

Matheson – Savard

Harris – Kovacevic

Struble – Barron

Montembeault

Primeau

   The Maple Leafs and Canadiens had a scoreless opening period and went on to have a four-goal second period for the 4-2 final. This had been their first victory since their 4-1 loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, which ended their three-game win streak.

   Early into the second period at 17:39, Max Domi recorded his ninth goal of the season to put the Maple Leafs ahead 1-0. Domi deflected a point shot from Ilya Lyubushkin between Sam Montembeault’s legs when he had been left unchecked in front. Auston Matthews scored off a wraparound that had banked into the net for his 64th goal of the season off the skate of David Savard only 17 seconds later. At 12:40, Matthew Knies went for his 14th of the season to increase Toronto’s lead to 3-0 when he shot around Montembeault’s right pad… it began when he had jumped on the rebound of a shot by William Nylander from the left point in front of the net. Not much longer after Knies’ goal, Bobby McMann pushed it to 4-0 after taking a return pass from Mitch Marner from the right side to send it under Montembeault’s arm.

At 10:55, Nick Suzuki scored the first goal for the Canadiens to make it 4-1 with a power-play goal. He scored a one-timer over Ilya Samsonov low in the left face-off circle off a cross-ice backhanded pass from Juraj Slafkovsky. Cole Caufield cut the Maple Leaf’s lead to 4-2 for his 23rd goal of the season and his third goal in the past five games when Mike Matheson had set him up, who carried the puck behind the net prior, and Caufield put the puck past Samsonov blocker side.

Ryan Reaves on the game overall and the fight: “I thought the first period was a little slow, and then we made some adjustments, came up pretty well in the second period. We’re trying to hold onto leads, learn to hold onto leads, and I thought we did a good job,” – “Any time you fight, you hope you draw a little bit of energy. I skated by their bench and then I just happened to be in by ours too, so I figured I’d get them going a little bit.”

Mitch Marner on the Maple Leafs taking control in the second period, his first game back, and Auston Matthews with his 100-point milestone: “Just being direct with pucks, being kind of straight forward to it, not messing around in our zone, and just being quick with it up the ice. A lot of guys doing speed off the pucks and obviously getting guys crashed to the net, and getting pucks there,” – “Not bad. The first couple of shifts, it’s always that first when you get hemmed in the zone, you start feeling it through the eyelids, but I felt good out there. I obviously had a lot of support out there with speed and some very skilled players, so I tried to do my thing and make them better as they did the same with me – Auston’s not a guy that really cares too much about his points, you know, his own milestones. Just like all of us have expressed, we have a bigger dream in mind but what he’s been doing this year has been special. Just like we’ve talked about all year, he’s a special player and we’re fortunate to have him.”

Auston Matthews on the 4-2 victory and Ryan Reaves: “I just thought we were a little bit more direct, simplifying our game a little bit, and just kind of getting pucks to the net – a couple of them went in, so you get momentum and you just try to take advantage of that and keep it rolling,” – “I will watch him do what he does, he’s the best in the world at what he does for a reason. Just a lot of fun to watch and you just see the reaction from the bench, and the energy he brings when he sticks out for guys like that and answers the bell. It’s a huge momentum shift and I can’t say enough good things about him… He’s just an animal, he’s a beast. I think it’s moments like those where you really realize how important he is to the team and what he brings on the ice, as well as off the ice.”

Notes:

– Auston Matthews is one goal shy of tying the most in a season among active players. In the 2007-08 season, Alex Ovechkin scored 65 goals for the Washington Capitals. His 64th goal had been his 29th on the road this season, which made him surpass his own Maple Leafs record set in the 2021-22 season.

  Matthews, who recorded 106 points in the 2021-22 season (60 goals, 46 assists), matched both Darryl Sittler and Doug Gilmour as the only Toronto Maple Leafs players to have two 100-point seasons.

– Matthews is the fourth NHL player to have 60 goals already when he recorded his 100th point. Brett Hull had accomplished this feat three times (64 in 1989-90, 68 in 1990-91, and 62 in 1991-92) with the St. Louis Blues, along with Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders (61 in 1980-81), and Alexander Molgilny of the Buffalo Sabres (63 in 1992-93).

– In his return to the lineup after being out since March 7th with a lower-body injury – Mitch Marner recorded one assist. Marner has 77 points this season (25 goals, 52 assists).

– Ilya Samsonov made a total of 24 saves for Toronto.

– Tyler Bertuzzi played in his 400th NHL career game.

– The Maple Leafs have moved four points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for third place in the Atlantic Division.

– Nick Suzuki recorded a goal and an assist, Mike Matheson recorded two assists, and Sam Montembeault allowed four on 12 shots before he was replaced by Cayden Primeau, who stopped all 18 shots he had faced.

– The Montreal Canadiens were without both Kaiden Guhle and Arber Xhekaj, both of whom are out with an upper-body injury… Guhle is day-to-day, and Xhekaj’s status is to be updated once his injury is assessed.

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Genevive Oliver

I'm a 17-year-old writer and a beginner photographer! I'm a huge hockey, baseball, boxing, and basketball fan.

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