Auston Matthews the hero in overtime for the Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up their 20th win in just the 28th game of the season with a dramatic overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres.
Auston Matthews scored his second goal of the game with 2.7 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 win.
“I didn’t really know how much time was left and kind of towards the end of my shift decided to stay out there. Because I was just able to pull it in and pick a corner,” said Matthews. Overall he has 15 goals in 14 games this season. “Lucky to get it off with a little bit of time remaining. I think everybody’s going home pretty happy on our side.”
Jake Gardiner and Patrick Marleau scored, and Frederik Andersen made 38 saves for the Maple Leafs (20-8-0). Leafs have won five straight games and matched their record for fewest games to reach 20 wins, set in 1934-35.
“We’re in a real battle here with Buffalo,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. “You’re in a battle to get better and you’re in a battle for the standings at the same time. But the way the division is. It’s going to be real tight all year. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Jack Eichel scored twice in the third period. Sam Reinhart had a goal for the Sabres (17-8-4). Additionally they have now lost four straight following their 10-game winning streak. This including their 2-1 defeat at the Nashville Predators on Monday. Linus Ullmark made 26 saves.
Following this Eichel tied the game 2-2 at 2:39. He one-timed Rasmus Ristolainen’s pass from the bottom of the left face-off circle. Additionally, he capitalized on a Maple Leafs turnover to put the Sabres ahead 3-2 at 12:57 with a shot from the slot.
Then Marleau tied it up 3-3. He took the rebound of a Morgan Rielly shot off the end boards and beat Ullmark short side at 14:47.
Matthews made a leaping grab of a deflected Ron Hainsey shot and brought it down for the wraparound to give Toronto a 1-0 lead at 8:33 of the second period.
However, Reinhart tipped Nathan Beaulieu’s point shot at 14:01 to tie it 1-1.
The Maple Leafs went ahead 2-1 with 9.6 seconds remaining in the second on Gardiner’s goal. Mitchell Marner sent a cross-ice pass to John Tavares, who left a drop pass for Gardiner in the bottom of the right circle.
Furthermore, Matthews is the second player since 1996-97 to score 15 goals in his first 14 games of a season. Meaning he joins Simon Gagne, who scored 16 in 2005-06 for the Philadelphia Flyers.
As a result, Leafs forward Patrick Marleau spoke glowingly of Matthews. He said: “He’s a game-changer any time he can get open and get the shot. I don’t know who you could even compare him to. He’s very unique in that respect. There’s been some in the past. But I think you take him for what he is and say, ‘It’s Auston.'”
Next up for the Maple Leafs is the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.