Maple Leafs Beat Golden Knights – Matthews Scores Twice

LAS VEGAS — Auston Matthews scored two goals, including the 100th of his career, to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 6-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.

The Maple Leafs, who improved to 36-18-3 this season and 19-7-2 on the road, are 15-7-0 against the Western Conference and 9-2-0 against Pacific Division opponents this season.

Morgan Rielly scored his fifth game-winner when his shot made its way through traffic to beat Marc-Andre Fleury and put Toronto ahead 4-3 at the midway point of the third period.

Vegas, meanwhile, has lost three in a row and a franchise-record five straight at T-Mobile Arena, including the first three of a four-game homestand.

Andreas Johnsson, Patrick Marleau and Mitch Marner also scored for Toronto, while Frederik Andersen made 30 saves.

Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews,
Toronto Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

Paul Stastny, Oscar Lindberg and William Karlsson scored for Vegas. Fleury made 36 saves but allowed a season-high six goals.

Fleury, who came into the game ranked ninth with a 2.54 goals-against average among goaltenders who have played in at least 25 games, has allowed 17 goals in his last four starts. The last time Fleury held an opponent to one or fewer goals was Jan. 1.

The Maple Leafs took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Johnsson redirected Jake Gardiner’s slap pass to beat Fleury for a power-play goal.

Vegas, which came into the game ranked sixth in the league with its penalty kill and tied for the league’s best home penalty kill, has now allowed at least one power-play goal in five straight games.

The Golden Knights tied the game early in the second period when Anderson decided not to hold on to the puck after making a save, and as he released it behind the net, Reilly Smith snuck in to steal it, dished to Stastny, who fired home a short-handed goal. Stastny has at least one point in 15 of his last 20 games, with five goals and 15 assists.

Vegas Golden Knights Reilly Smith Paul Stastny
Vegas Golden Knights Reilly Smith celebrates with Paul Stastny (AP Photo/John Locher)

Vegas made it 2-1 when Cody Eakin flew into the offensive zone and put a nifty spin move on Toronto defenceman Travis Dermott, and fed Lindberg, who one-timed it past Anderson.

The lead wouldn’t last long, though, as Matthews’ shot from the circle trickled past Fleury and across the goal line. At the same time Marleau reached in to tap the puck in, Fleury inadvertently kicked the puck into net, tying the game at 2-all.

Matthews scored his team-high 10th power-play goal when he fired a shot through Fleury’s legs to put the Maple Leafs back in front, 3-2.

After staving off their sixth penalty of the game, the Golden Knights made it 3-all early in the third, when Karlsson redirected Jon Merrill’s top from the top.

Matthews and Marner added goals late in the third to put away the game.

NOTES: Vegas defenceman Deryk Engelland played in his 600th career game. … The Golden Knights have allowed only 11 goals in 80 times short-handed during the 28 games played at T-Mobile Arena this season. … Johnsson left the game in the second period, and did not return, after being kneed in the left leg by Vegas defenceman Brayden McNabb. … Marner has at least one point in 11 of the last 15 games.


Toronto: Visits Arizona on Saturday.

Vegas: Hosts Nashville on Saturday.


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W.G. Ramirez, The Associated Press