TORONTO – Auston Matthews scored three times to record his fourth career hat trick when the fiery Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Colorado Avalanche 8-3 on Wednesday night.
John Tavares had one goal and two assists for Toronto (17-6-1), while William Nylander scored and had another. Jack Campbell made 28 saves.
Jason Spezza, Travis Dermott and Pierre Engvall had the other goals for the Leafs, who have won five straight games and are 15-2-0 over their last 17. Michael Bunting added three assists, while Mitch Marner and Alexander each had two. .
Nazem Kari, with two, and Samuel Girard answered for Colorado (11-7-1). Jonas Johansson stopped 33 shots as Avalanche lost for the second time in their last three games after winning six in a row.
Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon, who added two assists, returned to the lineup after missing eight games with a lower body injury, while Kadri dressed at Scotiabank Arena on the road for the second time since being traded. to Colorado in July 2019.
The avalanche announced shortly before the game, No. 1 goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper (upper body injury), announced as a starter Wednesday by head coach Jared Bednar after the morning skating, was unavailable.
That meant University of Toronto goalkeeper Jett Alexander dressed as Johansson’s emergency backup for warm-ups, but the 22-year-old from Bloomfield, Ontario remained in the locker room area until the third feature Justus Annunen. made it to the Scotiabank Arena in time to start. the second period on the bank of Colorado.
After a four-game road trip that saw them sweep the New York Islanders and all three California teams, the Leafs were up 1-0 at 4:31 in the first period when Tavares delicately gave Nylander a pass. broke his 10th goal of the season after Johansson’s glove.
Toronto was up 2-0 at 7:57 when Spezza scored fifth when the Colorado keeper was only able to get a portion of Nick Ritchie’s opening shot.
The Leafs were up three-fold at 2:24 p.m. when Matthews, stripped of his trademark mustache after shaving it for charity, took a front-feed from Marner and went between his legs and back against the grain to roof his 11th-leading goal of the game. team. and fourth in the same number of games.
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Toronto came close to making it 4-0 on a late power play, but Colorado killed that one and then jumped on the board with 1.2 seconds left in the period Girard edged Campbell for his second.
The NHL’s second star in November after going 9-2-0 with a league-leading .959 save percentage, the Leafs goalkeeper made several major saves early in the second period as Colorado began to tip the ice. .
But the avalanche finally broke through at 11:57 when Kadri, the league’s third star last month thanks to 21 points from 10 games, swept his eighth over Campbell.
The Leafs got that back just 47 seconds later when Dermott’s only timer went off with a Colorado stick up front and he beat Johansson upstairs in his first season of the season.
Campbell then made big saves on Logan O’Connor and Alex Newhook in quick succession before Tavares slipped his own rebound through Johansson for his 11th to equalize Matthews and push Toronto’s lead to 3-2.
But Matthews regained first place on the Leafs statistics page when he took a pass from Marner on tight before waiting longer than Johansson for his twelfth place with just 46 seconds in third.
And Leafs sniper and current Trophy winner Maurice (Rocket) Richard then fired his third of the night at 8:41 on a shot that beat the Colorado keeper to continue the attack.
Engvall added his third from almost the same spot at 10:08 to make it 8-2.
Kadri scored and then tipped her ninth, and her 200th career beat, edged out Campbell at 4:36 PM.
Toronto’s 21 goals in the last four games match the team’s total production in October, when the team got off to a rocky start.
The intrigue surrounding Alexander prior to the puck’s crash was far from the first time a so-called “EBUG” has been forced out of the stands in Toronto.
David Ayres took over from Carolina in February 2020 after both Hurricane keepers were injured before earning an unlikely 6-3 victory.
Alexander’s teammate, fellow U of T goalkeeper Alex Bishop, signed a one-day amateur tryout with the Leafs earlier this season when the club struggled with injury and salary cap issues.
Notes: Bunting extended his points streak to five games (two goals, seven assists) to tie Detroit’s Moritz Seider for the longest with a rookie this season. … Michael Hutchinson dressed as Campbell’s No. 2 instead of Joseph Woll (undisclosed). … The Avalanches visit Montreal on Thursday before heading to Ottawa on Saturday. … The Leafs travel to Minnesota on Saturday and Winnipeg on Sunday.
This Canadian Press report was first published on December 1, 2021.
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