TORONTO – Auston Matthews scored 3 times to register the fourth hat trick of his profession because the red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs thumped the Colorado Avalanche 8-3 on Wednesday night time.
John Tavares had a objective and two assists for Toronto (17-6-1), whereas William Nylander scored and arrange one other. Jack Campbell made 28 saves.
Jason Spezza, Travis Dermott and Pierre Engvall had the opposite targets for the Leafs, who’ve received 5 straight video games and are 15-2-0 over their final 17. Michael Bunting added three assists, whereas Mitch Marner and Alexander had two every.
Nazem Kari, with two, and Samuel Girard replied for Colorado (11-7-1). Jonas Johansson stopped 33 photographs because the Avalanche misplaced for the second time of their final three contests after profitable six in a row.
Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon, who added two assists, returned to the lineup after lacking eight video games with a lower-body damage, whereas Kadri suited up at Scotiabank Enviornment as a customer for the second time since being traded to Colorado in July 2019.
The Avalanche introduced shortly earlier than the sport No. 1 goalie Darcy Kuemper (upper-body damage) — introduced as Wednesday’s starter by head coach Jared Bednar following the morning skate — was unavailable.
That meant College of Toronto netminder Jett Alexander dressed as Johansson’s emergency backup for warmups, however the 22-year-old from Bloomfield, Ont., remained within the locker-room space till third-stringer Justus Annunen arrived at Scotiabank Enviornment in time to begin the second interval on Colorado’s bench.
Coming off a four-game street journey that noticed them sweep the New York Islanders and all three California groups, the Leafs went up 1-0 at 4:31 of the primary interval when Tavares delicately fed a move forward to Nylander, who ripped his tenth objective of the season previous Johansson’s glove.
Toronto went up 2-0 at 7:57 when Spezza tapped residence his fifth when the Colorado netminder may solely get a bit of Nick Ritchie’s preliminary shot.
The Leafs went up by three at 14:24 when Matthews — minus his trademark moustache after shaving it off for charity — took a feed in entrance from Marner and went between the legs and again towards the grain to roof his team-leading eleventh objective, and fourth in as many video games.
Toronto got here shut to creating it 4-0 on a late energy play, however Colorado killed that one off after which acquired on the board with 1.2 seconds left within the interval when Girard blasted a one-timer previous Campbell for his second.
The NHL’s second star in November after going 9-2-0 with a league-leading .959 save proportion, the Leafs goaltender made quite a lot of large stops early within the second interval as Colorado began to tilt the ice.
However the Avalanche lastly broke by at 11:57 when Kadri — the league’s third star final month because of 21 factors in 10 video games — swept his eighth previous Campbell.
The Leafs acquired that one again simply 47 seconds later when Dermott’s one-timer went off a Colorado stick in entrance and beat Johansson upstairs for his first of the marketing campaign.
Campbell then made terrific saves on Logan O’Connor and Alex Newhook in fast succession earlier than Tavares slipped his personal rebound by Johansson for his eleventh to match Matthews and push Toronto’s lead again to a few and 5-2.
However Matthews retook high spot on the Leafs’ stats web page when he collected a move from Marner in tight earlier than outwaiting Johansson for his twelfth simply 46 seconds into third.
And the Leafs sniper and reigning Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy winner then fired his third of the night time at 8:41 on a shot that beat the Colorado netminder shortside to proceed the onslaught.
Engvall added his third from virtually the identical spot at 10:08 to make it 8-2.
Kadri scored then tipped his ninth — and the 2 hundredth of his profession — previous Campbell at 16:36.
Toronto’s 21 targets over the past 4 video games match the crew’s total output in October when the crew acquired off to a scuffling begin.
The intrigue surrounding Alexander forward of puck drop was removed from the primary time a so-called “EBUG” has been compelled to return out of the stands in Toronto.
David Ayres famously took the crease for Carolina in February 2020 after each Hurricanes netminders have been injured earlier than choosing up an inconceivable 6-3 victory.
Alexander’s teammate, fellow U of T goalie Alex Bishop, then signed a one-day newbie tryout with the Leafs earlier this season when the membership bumped into damage and wage cap points.
Notes: Bunting stretched his level streak to 5 video games (two targets, seven assists) to tie Detroit’s Moritz Seider for a longest by a rookie this season. … Michael Hutchinson dressed as Campbell’s No. 2 rather than Joseph Woll (undisclosed). … The Avalanche go to Montreal on Thursday earlier than heading to Ottawa on Saturday. … The Leafs journey to Minnesota on Saturday and Winnipeg on Sunday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Dec. 1, 2021.
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