auston matthews

Best of NHL: Auston Matthews' legend grows with OT winner as Leafs top Canadiens

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Best of NHL: Auston Matthews' legend grows with OT winner as Leafs top Canadiens

MONTREAL -- Auston Matthews scored his second goal of the game 48 seconds into overtime to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on Saturday night.

Matthews finished a 2-on-1 counterattack with William Nylander, beating goalie Carey Price with a shot from the left circle for his fifth goal in five games.

James van Riemsdyk and Patrick Marleau also scored for Toronto, which ended a 14-game winless run against Montreal dating to January 2014.

Jeff Petry, Alex Galchenyuk and Jonathan Drouin scored for the Canadiens (see full recap).

Kucherov scores in 5th straight game, Lightning beat Blues
TAMPA, Fla. -- Nikita Kucherov became the first Tampa Bay player to score in each of the first five games of a season, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves and the Lightning beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 on Saturday night.

Tyler Johnson also scored for the Lightning, who have won four of five.

Vladimir Tarasenko got his fourth goal and Jake Allen stopped 25 shots for St. Louis, which has lost two in a row following a season-opening four-game winning streak.

Kucherov made it 2-0 on a backhander at 6:27 of the third.

Tarasenko got the Blues with 2-1 with 3:23 to play. He has seven goals and nine points in nine games against Tampa Bay (see full recap).

Crosby scores twice, leads Penguins past Panthers
PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored two goals, including a bad-angle deflection in the third period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Florida Panthers 4-3 on Saturday night.

Crosby has three goals this season. Patric Hornqvist and Greg McKegg also scored for the Penguins, who are 8-0-2 in their last 10 games against the Panthers -- their longest stretch without a regulation loss in the history of the series.

McKegg, who scored his first goal for Pittsburgh, spent time with the Panthers the last two seasons, compiling eight points in 46 games and appearing in a playoff game in 2016.

Matt Murray stopped 43 shots for Pittsburgh. He earned his 44th win, tying Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford for 10th in team history.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice and Aaron Ekblad also had a goal for Florida. Evgeni Dadonov added two assists for the Panthers, unable to win a third straight game (see full recap).

Ehlers gets 5th goal, lifts Jets over Hurricanes
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Nikolaj Ehlers scored his team-leading fifth goal during the third period to lift the Winnipeg Jets over the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Saturday night.

Ehlers took a feed from captain Blake Wheeler and wired a shot from the high slot over the stick-side shoulder of goalie Scott Darling 6:03 into the third. Winnipeg won its third straight after an 0-2 start.

Bryan Little also scored for the Jets.

Jeff Skinner had a power-play goal for Carolina.

On the winner, Wheeler had the puck in the corner and waited for Ehlers to skate himself open. Ehlers, skating backward through the slot from Darling's right to his left, took the pass and caught the new Hurricanes goaltender going the wrong way, sniping a perfect wrist shot into the corner (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Auston Matthews nets OT game-winner in Centennial Classic

Best of NHL: Auston Matthews nets OT game-winner in Centennial Classic

TORONTO -- Auston Matthews scored in regulation and overtime in his first outdoor game, leading the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday in the Centennial Classic at BMO Field.

In a game delayed 30 minutes at the start because of sun on the ice, Matthews won it with the 20th of his rookie season after the Maple Leafs blew a three-goal lead in the third period. Anthony Mantha tied it for Detroit with 1.1 seconds left.

Leo Komarov, Mitch Marner, and Connor Brown also scored for Toronto, and Frederik Andersen made 33 saves. The Maple Leafs have won five straight to improve to 17-12-7.

Mantha scored twice for Detroit, Jonathan Ericsson and Dylan Larkin added goals and rookie Jared Coreau stopped 23 shots. The Red Wings dropped to 16-16-5.

It wasn't an entirely full house at BMO with scattered empty seats among the 40,818 in attendance. The rink itself was placed on a tableau of the No. 100, signifying both the centennial season for both the Leafs and NHL.

Before the game, the NHL revealed the first 33 players on its 100 greatest players list, a group that included former Red Wings great Gordie Howe and former Leafs goalie Johnny Bower.

After Mantha opened the scoring in the second period, the team combined for seven goals in the third.

Komarov tied it 1:23 into the final frame. Fed by Jake Gardiner, who fetched a loose puck in the corner of the Detroit zone, Komarov stuffed his sixth goal of the season past Coreau.

Marner put the Leafs ahead at 8:23, storming past Mantha and into the slot before beating Coreau. Fed from behind the net by fellow rookie Zach Hyman, Brown scored 1:11 later. Matthews scored at 12:05.

Ericsson and Larkin scored less than two minutes apart to cut the deficit to one. Mantha tucked a shot into the net with 1.1 seconds left in regulation. Andersen was down and out on the play after slight contact with Thomas Vanek in the crease. The play was reviewed, but ultimately confirmed.

Flyers hoping to avoid pond hockey vs. Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs

Flyers hoping to avoid pond hockey vs. Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs

VOORHEES, N.J. — You can be certain the Toronto Maple Leafs will want to make their presence felt Friday night at Air Canada Centre against the Flyers.

They didn’t do that earlier in the week on home ice and got pasted, 7-0, by the L.A. Kings, which led to a bag skate — some of it in total darkness — the next day from coach Mike Babcock.

The Leafs, who have three of the NHL’s top-six rookie scorers in their lineup, like to play pond hockey with all the infusion of speed.

That’s something the Flyers have to be wary of, especially given the defensive breakdowns in front of their goalies these days.

That means paying attention to Auston Matthews, who centers fellow rookies Zach Hyman and William Nylander.

Rookies have truly had an impact throughout the NHL this season, but you could easily say that has been the trend over the past several seasons, as well.

“It’s pretty exciting for the league when you look around,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said Thursday. “The number of good, young players in the league who are having an impact on a daily basis.

“It’s early in the year, so everybody still has a lot to prove, but there is no question there are some exciting players entering the league as young guys.”

Matthews, who possesses out-of-this-world moves, deserves special attention when he’s on the ice. He scored four goals in his NHL debut against Ottawa, but has scored just twice since then.

Sean Couturier’s line with Travis Konecny and Jakub Voracek could match up against that unit.

“I played with [Matthews] at the World Cup and he’s a special player,” Couturier said. “He’s pretty talented and off to a good start. He’s a dangerous player to play against.”

Nylander leads the Leafs with 12 points (four goals), while Matthews (six goals) has 11 points and Mitch Marner (four goals) has 10 points.

“He’s a big guy, he can skate and does everything at a high speed,” Couturier said of Matthews. “His execution and everything is at a high speed and [so is] his release. He does everything so quick, he’s tough to play against.”

The Flyers will have their own rookies here, including Konecny and Ivan Provorov. Asked to compare Konecny and Matthews, Couturier said they were entirely different players.

“One guy is 6-3 and the other is 5-10, 5-11? Or 5-8 maybe without his skates," Couturier said. "It’s tough to compare them. TK plays with a chip on his shoulder. He likes to go to the dirty areas.

“Auston Matthews is more pure talent. A gifted player ... there’s no comparison for me because they are two different players.”

Flyers captain Claude Giroux said simply, “The things they can do at high speed is pretty impressive.”

Giroux will have Brayden Schenn back on his line with Wayne Simmonds. Schenn likes what he sees of Matthews’ line.

“They’re going to play a lot of minutes regardless, that’s who they are building their team around,” Schenn said. “Young guys tend to make more mistakes. That’s the nature of the game. They are highly skilled [and] make plays.”

Which is why it would behoove the Flyers to slow the game down and prevent pond hockey.

“That’s one thing we don’t want the game to be,” Schenn said. “We haven’t been great yet five-on-five defensively. We have to clean that up.

“But that’s what those guys — Matthews and Nylander — want. When you have that much skill, you want a run-and-gun style of game to allow their skill to take over. That’s what we can’t let them do."