Matthews’ 3rd-period goal lifts Maple Leafs over Capitals in home opener


Sheldon Keefe needed a response.

The Maple Leafs head coach acquired precisely that in his staff’s home opener due to a well-recognized face — and a pair new ones.

Auston Matthews scored the winner in the third interval and Ilya Samsonov made 24 saves towards his former staff as Toronto defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Thursday.

The Leafs had been coming off a poor exhibiting in a 4-3 street loss in Montreal some 24 hours earlier in their curtain-raiser that made for an uncomfortable flight home.

Keefe gave a blistering evaluation of that efficiency and wasn’t any happier Thursday morning when he met the media following a pointed staff assembly.

“You do not wish to use a kind of bullets after recreation one,” he stated following the victory. “We have excessive expectations as a staff.

“It was necessary for us to essentially discuss that, be sincere about it, not simply brush it apart as simply one other recreation or simply the one recreation of 82.”

Calle Jarnkrok, who like Samsonov signed in free company, and John Tavares had the opposite objectives for the Leafs (1-1-0). Morgan Rielly added two assists.

“It is one recreation,” Matthews, the reigning Hart Trophy winner as NHL MVP coming off the league’s first 60-goal season in a decade, stated of the Montreal defeat. “But you at all times wish to begin off properly.

“Good bounce-back win.”

WATCH | Matthews scores 1st goal of season in win over Capitals:

Leafs maintain on to seize first win of the season

Auston Matthews successful goal was simply sufficient, as Toronto defeated Washington 3-2 at home Thursday night time.

Nic Dowd and Marcus Johansson replied for Washington. Charlie Lindgren stopped 36 pictures for the Capitals (0-2-0), who had been coming off Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to Boston in their home opener.

“A begin we do not wish to have,” Washington captain Alex Ovehckin stated. “A wake-up name.”

With each groups taking part in the second of a back-to-back, there wasn’t a lot ice accessible in the third interval till Matthews tipped a Mark Giordano level shot that handcuffed Lindgren and dribbled over the goal line to snap a 2-2 tie at 6:55.

Samsonov and his new teammates had been then pressured to carry on late with the Leafs short-handed on two events inside the ultimate 4 minutes and Lindgren on the bench for an additional attacker.

“We talked about being extra affected person with our recreation,” Tavares stated. “We tried to perform a little an excessive amount of [in Montreal], caught us chasing slightly bit.”

Toronto opened the scoring at 6:40 of the primary on an influence play that lastly clicked after a pair nice probabilities when Rielly discovered Tavares.

The Capitals responded at 9:57 by way of Dowd earlier than Johansson gave Washington the lead on a shot off the frenzy — one which Samsonov, who performed components of three seasons with the Capitals earlier than getting lower free in July, will need again at 13:52.

‘Quite a lot of emotion”

The Leafs put an enormous guess down on Samsonov and Matt Murray — two goaltenders with strong pedigrees, but additionally heaps to show based mostly on current efficiency — after letting Jack Campbell stroll in free company.

“Quite a lot of emotion in the primary interval,” the Russian netminder stated. “First recreation with the Leafs for me and [against] my outdated staff.”

Starting in place of No. 1 possibility Darcy Kuemper, Lindgren might do nothing on Toronto’s equalizer at 4:03 of the second when Alexander Kerfoot took a go on the offensive blue line and delayed earlier than discovering a streaking Jarnkrok for his first with the Leafs.

Samsonov was in a capturing gallery later in the interval on an influence play, together with a blast from Ovechkin.

Toronto got here agonizingly near pushing forward simply previous to the intermission, however each Matthews and Michael Bunting failed to attach on a bouncing puck in Lindgren’s crease earlier than the Leafs nudged in entrance in the third.

“We had a frank dialogue this morning,” Keefe stated. “The guys responded rather well.”


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