What a road trip for the Toronto Maple Leafs. They could have won all four games, but blew a 5-1 lead against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. Otherwise, it would have been perfect. As it was, seven of eight points isn’t a bad haul for the difficulty of the opposition.
Last night, the Maple Leafs wrapped up their trip with a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. The team had to play overtime to do it; however, that made it even more perfect.
Last night was the night that Auston Matthews broke Rick Vaive’s 40-year-old franchise record for goals in a season. Matthews’ 56th goal was the overtime winner that ended the game with a double celebration – the win for the team and the new record for the team’s first-line center.
How it started vs. How it’s going pic.twitter.com/FlACNNy2Ug
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 8, 2022
In this edition of Maple Leafs’ takeaways, I’ll look at Matthews’ accomplishment. I’ll also look at the play of two other Maple Leafs’ players as well — goalie Jack Campbell and winger William Nylander.
Takeaway One: Auston Matthews Sets the Franchise Record for Goals Scored in a Season
Auston Matthews was absolutely dominant. He scored two goals in last night’s 4-3 overtime win over the Stars. The first goal came on a beautiful play from Mark Giordano, who gave Matthews a gorgeous pass that he simply wired past the goalie. It was a power-play goal.
The second goal was the overtime winner. Here Matthews simply wound up, skated down the right side, and faked the forehand before he deposited the backhand into the net.
With those two goals, Matthews lifted his goal total for the season to an NHL-leading 56. His first goal was for the record books because it broke his tie with Vaive for the most goals scored during a single season by any Toronto player. His second goal was for the season because it came in overtime and broke the tie game with the Stars.
That final goal was a dramatic end to what was a historical night for the 24-year-old, American-born center.
Takeaway Two: Jack Campbell Stopped the Shots He Had To
Although Maple Leafs’ goalie Jack Campbell was rarely tested in overtime, he did enough to allow his team to come out with the win last night. His team dominated the offense and beat the Stars in shots on goal by a margin of 41-18. During the game, however, the Stars were able to come back from three one-goal deficits.
It won’t be chalked up to one of Campbell’s best performances this season, but he stopped the shots he needed to. He also allowed the drama of the night to unfold. For a movie script, it was a good game; however, for a team readying itself for the postseason, there’s something to be desired. In the end, the Maple Leafs took two important points from the game and keep themselves in the thick of the Atlantic Division race.
Takeaway Two: William Nylander Is Bumping into 30 Goals for the Season
William Nylander started the game with a goal and ended the game with an assist on Matthews’ game-winner. In the end, Nylander kept his own personal point-scoring streak going. It’s now up to five games. I’m not sure how many times he’s done it, but Nylander seems to get the team’s first goal quite a bit.
In his current point-scoring streak, his final assist gave Nylander his third multiple-point game during this five-game streak. Obviously, Matthews’ two goals carried the bulk of the play; however, Nylander’s continuing contributions are part of the success of this team. On the season, he’s scored 28 goals and added 40 assists (for 68 points) in 70 games. It’s his best season ever, having put up 61 points two times previously.
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