Matthews Scores 62nd in Maple Leafs 6-4 Victory vs. Florida Panthers | 4/1/2024

Photo: Frank Gunn via The Canadian Press

Auston Matthews scored both his 61st and 62nd goals on Monday, April 1st when the Maple Leafs took on the Florida Panthers at the Scotiabank Arena. Toronto continued their win streak, adding their third straight win with a 6-4 victory. Besides the two goals Matthews scored, he recorded an assist for his 17th multi-goal game of the season, this being the most in a single season by any player in the past 30 years. The Maple Leafs will be hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, hoping for a four-game win streak.

Panthers lineup against the Maple Leafs:

Verhaeghe – Barkov – Reinhart

Rodrigues – Bennett – Tkachuk

 Luostarinen – Lundell – Tarasenko

Gadjovich – Stenlund – Lomberg

Forsling – Ekblad

Mikkola – Montour

Ekman-Larsson – Kulikov

Bobrovsky

Stolarz

Maple Leafs lineup against the Panthers:

Bertuzzi – Matthews – Domi

McMann – Tavares – Nylander

Knies – Holmberg – Robertson

Dewar – Kampf – Reaves

Brodie – Lyubushkin

Benoit – McCabe

Giordano – Timmins

Samsonov

Woll

   Scoring his third in the past five games and his 12th goal of the season – Nicholas Robertson put the Maple Leafs in a 1-0 lead late in the first period at 6:01. He scored on a breakaway, putting the puck past Sergei Bobrovsky’s outstretched right pad after receiving a pass in the neutral zone from Matthew Knies. Auston Matthews made it a 2-0 lead for Toronto only 33 seconds later with his 61st goal of the season to set a new career high, as well as extend his point streak to eight games (seven goals, nine assists)… Matthews took a cross-crease pass from T.J. Brodie and tapped it in past Bobrovsky.

   Brandon Montour cut the Maple Leafs’ lead to 2-1 to put Florida on the board just 47 seconds into the second with a shot from the blue line… Tyler Bertuzzi responded 39 seconds later to make it a 3-1 score for his 19th goal of the season and his fourth in the past four games. At the top of the goal crease, Bertuzzi redirected a pass from Auston Matthews, who had been in the right corner, between Sergei Bobrovsky’s pads. At 11:28, David Kampf pushed it to 4-1, backhanding his own rebound. Matthew Knies increased Toronto’s lead to 5-1 off a pass from Pontus Holmberg, who had carried the puck around the net and passed it from the right of the goal crease, and Knies scored a one-timer for his 13th of the season.

   Early into the third frame at 17:48, Vladimir Tarasenko deflected in a point shot from Niko Mikkola for the second goal of the game by the Panthers to make it 5-2. Sam Reinhart received a pass from Tarasenko, who had been behind the net, and Reinhart put in a one-timer to cut it to 5-3. Cutting it once again later on into the final period, Sam Bennett made it 5-4 with his 17th goal of the season while Florida had an empty net for the extra attacker. He sent a shot from the left face-off circle that had gone past Ilya Samsonov’s glove. With only 46 seconds left in regulation, Auston Matthews struck his 62nd goal of the season into the empty net for the 6-4 final.

Auston Matthews on how the Maple Leafs played, the win, and what to clean up: “I thought we just came out with a lot of purpose there, especially in the first. It was a pretty sound game overall. Obviously, in the third there, I thought we were a little bit more on our heels than we’d like to be. That’s a really good team over there, so you give them an inch and they’re going to take a yard. It’s nice to finish off with a win and two points, but I’d like to clean up some stuff there in the third and kind of be more on the offense.”

Nicholas Robertson on what he and the team take away from this 6-4 victory, and how they played: “We take away that we can be on the winning side against this team. I think we showed that through the first two periods. In the third, kind of was a little ugly, but got the win,” – “I think we just play with pace. We know it wasn’t going to be a fancy game, and they’re a hard team to play against. So, we just simplify our game, play with speed, get behind them, and it worked out.”

Notes:

– Each Nicholas Robertson and Matthew Knies recorded a goal and an assist. Ilya Samsonov made a total of 26 saves for Toronto.

  Samsonov recorded his 100th NHL win in his 167th start. This made him the 16th-fastest goaltender to reach this milestone.

– Auston Matthews had extended his point streak to eight games and recorded his 17th multi-goal game of the season, marking the most in a single season by any player in the past 30 years… Alexander Mogilny had been the last player to record more in a season (24 in the 1992-93 season.)

– Vladimir Tarasenko recorded a goal and two assists… Sergei Bobrovsky had allowed five goals on 16 before he was replaced by Anthony Stolarz, who made six saves in relief.

– After leaving at 3:47 of the third period, Carter Verhaeghe did not return because of an undisclosed injury. He will be evaluated on Tuesday.

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