Matthews' hat trick lifts Leafs past Devils 7-4

TORONTO (AP) Rasmus Sandin joked early in the day that Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe asked him to score 10 goals in his return to the NHL.

Auston Matthews took care of the scoring with a hat trick, and Sandin, a 19-year-old defenseman who starred for Sweden at the recent world junior hockey championship, did just fine in plugging a hole on Toronto's injury-hit blue line, assisting on two goals in a 7-4 victory Tuesday night over the New Jersey Devils.

''I feel confident,'' Sandin said. ''The group is really good and helps me in every way they can.''

Sandin was a key contributor in a quick-strike first period before Matthews scored three times to snap a hat-trick hex. He hadn't scored three goals in a game since his NHL debut in October 2016, a span of 257 regular-season games.

''I mean, I figured I'd get one sometime,'' he said.

Sandin was recalled from the American Hockey League after Toronto lost top defenseman Morgan Rielly to a broken foot. The club's first-round pick in 2018, Sandin made his NHL debut Oct. 2 and had two assists in six games before getting sent down to the minors.

After registering three goals and 10 points to help his country win bronze at the under-20 tournament in the Czech Republic, and three assists in two AHL games over the weekend, he put on a show in his return.

''He's fun to watch,'' Matthews said. ''He made an immediate impact.''

John Tavares added a goal and two assists for Toronto, while William Nylander and Zach Hyman, both with two-point nights, and Frederik Gauthier provided the rest of the offense for Leafs (25-16-6), who snapped a three-game winless streak.

Frederik Andersen made 24 saves for the Leafs after getting pulled in two of his team's last three outings.

Matthews, who came in with eight two-goal contests this season, hadn't scored three since his four-goal outburst in his first NHL game. Linemate Mitch Marner, who assisted on two of the goals, found a bit of humor in Matthews' unusual streak.

''It's pretty funny,'' Marner said. ''We've actually talked about it a couple times ... I'm sure that's a big relief.''

Blake Coleman, with his first-career hat trick, and P.K. Subban scored for New Jersey (17-22-7).

Louis Domingue allowed five goals on 19 shots before getting yanked midway through the second. Cory Schneider, who was only just summoned from the AHL, came on in relief and finished with 13 saves. Will Butcher had three assists.

''We didn't start on time,'' Coleman said. ''We owe Louis a game. That was inexcusable.''

What also allowed the Leafs to exhale was a decent defensive performance, save for stretches of the second period and a semi meltdown late that allowed the Devils to make the score more respectable,

''We controlled the puck well,'' Marner said. ''We got away from it a little bit in the second.''

Sandin stepped up early, providing the point shot that Tavares tipped home for his 18th goal of the season at 5:18 of the first.

Toronto made it 2-0 at 9:10 after Jason Spezza won a battle behind New Jersey's net. The puck eventually found its way to Gauthier, and he wheeled in front before firing in his sixth.

The Leafs then connected on their second power play of the evening in the dying seconds of the period when Hyman tipped in his 12th off another point shot from Sandin as he was being cross-checked in front.

''The biggest thing about (Sandin's) game is his poise,'' Keefe said. ''He has that in spades.''

Nylander got in on the action 2:12 into the second with his 20th to snap a four-game goal drought.

Andersen made a nice stop on a New Jersey power play later in the period before Coleman muscled his way through score at 6:56.

Toronto, which had given up 17 goals against over a troubling 0-2-1 stretch, got that one back on another man advantage at 10:39 when Matthews redirected a nice pass from Marner for his 32nd to make it 5-1.

Schneider steadied things for a time in New Jersey's crease, but a wide-open Matthews buried his 33rd off another Marner feed at 3:58.

Coleman scored his second of the game with eight minutes left and completed his first-career hat trick at 15:36 to give the winger 18 goals.

Subban added his sixth on a 6-on-3 power play with Schneider off for an extra attacker with 1:58 on the clock.

Matthews finished the scoring with 80 seconds remaining, his empty-netter giving him 34 on the season.

''Good bounce-back game,'' said Matthews, who sits just two goals back of Boston's David Pastrnak for the NHL lead. ''A little bit of a lull in the second period. Some stuff we'd like to clean up and do better.

''But, all in all, nice to get back in the win column.''

Notes: Rielly has been battling a suspected lower-body ailment most of the season and is out for at least the next eight weeks. ... Toronto's Jake Muzzin, who broke a foot blocking a shot in New Jersey on Dec. 27, could resume skating on Wednesday. ... Sandin was named the best defenseman and a tournament all-star at the world juniors. ... Spezza became the 196th player in NHL history to play 1,100 regular-season games. ... The Leafs also recalled defenseman and 2017 first-round pick Timothy Liljegren from the AHL.

---

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Copyright 2020 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

123T
NJ17-22-7
0134
TOR25-16-6
3227
STARS OF THE GAME
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
J. Boqvist LW00-110/0012:491
J. Bratt LW01-210/0017:321
W. Butcher D02130/0020:010
C. Carrick D01200/0218:210
B. Coleman LW30060/2217:454
A. Greene D00000/0019:030
N. Gusev RW01010/0016:280
J. Hayden RW00010/0009:301
N. Hischier C00-218/10019:201
J. Hughes C00-102/5007:150
K. Rooney C00028/8012:170
D. Severson D00-300/0023:333
W. Simmonds RW01-201/1013:403
P. Subban D10-160/0219:413
S. Vatanen D00-300/0019:380
M. Wood LW01030/0212:211
P. Zacha C00023/5016:011
T. Zajac C01125/8217:341
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
T. Barrie D00250/0017:520
C. Ceci D00200/0219:154
T. Dermott D00-220/0021:242
P. Engvall LW01010/0413:540
F. Gauthier RW10016/0008:110
J. Holl D00-210/0021:341
Z. Hyman LW11220/4016:220
A. Johnsson LW00030/0014:582
K. Kapanen RW00020/0017:341
A. Kerfoot C00016/2215:020
M. Marincin D00210/0217:121
M. Marner RW02220/1021:510
A. Matthews C30248/5019:560
W. Nylander RW11050/0016:220
R. Sandin D02220/0016:123
J. Spezza C01007/4008:580
J. Tavares C120212/11017:161
D. Timashov LW00000/0008:092
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
L. Domingue (L)195140.73731:31
C. Schneider 141130.92927:03
GOALIESSA
L. Domingue (L)19
C. Schneider 14
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
F. Andersen (W)294250.86259:36
GOALIESSA
F. Andersen (W)29
Kevin Rooney shot on goal (Wrist shot)
NJ:GoalsShots
TOR:GoalsShots
Full Play By Play
GOALS
  • 3RD PERIOD
    • TOR
      18:40GOAL Auston Matthews (Empty net shot)
    • NJ
      18:02(PP) GOAL P.K. Subban (Slap shot), Assists: Jesper Bratt and Wayne Simmonds
    • NJ
      15:35GOAL Blake Coleman (Wrist shot), Assists: Will Butcher and Travis Zajac
    • NJ
      12:00GOAL Blake Coleman (Backhand shot), Assists: Nikita Gusev and Connor Carrick
    • TOR
      03:58GOAL Auston Matthews (Slap shot), Assists: Mitchell Marner and Zach Hyman
  • 2ND PERIOD
    • TOR
      10:39(PP) GOAL Auston Matthews (Tip-in shot), Assists: Mitchell Marner and John Tavares
    • NJ
      06:56GOAL Blake Coleman (Wrist shot), Assists: Miles Wood and Will Butcher
    • TOR
      02:12GOAL William Nylander (Tip-in shot), Assists: Pierre Engvall and John Tavares
  • 1ST PERIOD
    • TOR
      19:56(PP) GOAL Zach Hyman (Tip-in shot), Assists: Rasmus Sandin and Jason Spezza
    • TOR
      09:10GOAL Frederik Gauthier (Wrist shot)
    • TOR
      05:18GOAL John Tavares (Tip-in shot), Assists: Rasmus Sandin and William Nylander
PENALTIES
  • 3RD PERIOD
    • TOR
      17:40Martin Marincin penalty Hooking - 2 min.
    • TOR
      15:55Cody Ceci penalty Hooking - 2 min.
  • 2ND PERIOD
    • NJ
      15:02Travis Zajac penalty Tripping - 2 min.
    • TOR
      13:08Pierre Engvall penalty Roughing - 2 min.
    • NJ
      13:08Miles Wood penalty Roughing - 2 min.
    • NJ
      09:34Blake Coleman penalty High Sticking - 2 min.
    • TOR
      04:38Alexander Kerfoot penalty High Sticking - 2 min.
  • 1ST PERIOD
    • NJ
      18:24P.K. Subban penalty Interference - 2 min.
    • NJ
      12:47Connor Carrick penalty Hooking - 2 min.
    • TOR
      09:27Pierre Engvall penalty Holding - 2 min.
TEAM STATS
NJ
TOR
Shots on Goal2934
Goals in Power Play12
Faceoff Wins2739
Penalties55
Major Penalties00
Minor Penalties55
Misconducts00
TEAM STATS
NJ
Shots on Goal29
Goals in Power Play1
Faceoff Wins27
Penalties5
Major Penalties0
Minor Penalties5
Misconducts0
123T
NJ17-22-7
0134
TOR25-16-6
3227
STARS OF THE GAME
13.8%SHOT %20.6%
0.794%SAVE %0.862%
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
J. Boqvist LW00-110/0012:491
J. Bratt LW01-210/0017:321
W. Butcher D02130/0020:010
C. Carrick D01200/0218:210
B. Coleman LW30060/2217:454
A. Greene D00000/0019:030
N. Gusev RW01010/0016:280
J. Hayden RW00010/0009:301
N. Hischier C00-218/10019:201
J. Hughes C00-102/5007:150
K. Rooney C00028/8012:170
D. Severson D00-300/0023:333
W. Simmonds RW01-201/1013:403
P. Subban D10-160/0219:413
S. Vatanen D00-300/0019:380
M. Wood LW01030/0212:211
P. Zacha C00023/5016:011
T. Zajac C01125/8217:341
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
T. Barrie D00250/0017:520
C. Ceci D00200/0219:154
T. Dermott D00-220/0021:242
P. Engvall LW01010/0413:540
F. Gauthier RW10016/0008:110
J. Holl D00-210/0021:341
Z. Hyman LW11220/4016:220
A. Johnsson LW00030/0014:582
K. Kapanen RW00020/0017:341
A. Kerfoot C00016/2215:020
M. Marincin D00210/0217:121
M. Marner RW02220/1021:510
A. Matthews C30248/5019:560
W. Nylander RW11050/0016:220
R. Sandin D02220/0016:123
J. Spezza C01007/4008:580
J. Tavares C120212/11017:161
D. Timashov LW00000/0008:092
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
L. Domingue (L)195140.73731:31
C. Schneider 141130.92927:03
GOALIESSA
L. Domingue (L)19
C. Schneider 14
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
F. Andersen (W)294250.86259:36
GOALIESSA
F. Andersen (W)29
STARS OF THE GAME
123T
NJ17-22-7
0134
TOR25-16-6
3227
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
J. Boqvist LW00-110/0012:491
J. Bratt LW01-210/0017:321
W. Butcher D02130/0020:010
C. Carrick D01200/0218:210
B. Coleman LW30060/2217:454
A. Greene D00000/0019:030
N. Gusev RW01010/0016:280
J. Hayden RW00010/0009:301
N. Hischier C00-218/10019:201
J. Hughes C00-102/5007:150
K. Rooney C00028/8012:170
D. Severson D00-300/0023:333
W. Simmonds RW01-201/1013:403
P. Subban D10-160/0219:413
S. Vatanen D00-300/0019:380
M. Wood LW01030/0212:211
P. Zacha C00023/5016:011
T. Zajac C01125/8217:341
Total4802927/3910-20
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
T. Barrie D00250/0017:520
C. Ceci D00200/0219:154
T. Dermott D00-220/0021:242
P. Engvall LW01010/0413:540
F. Gauthier RW10016/0008:110
J. Holl D00-210/0021:341
Z. Hyman LW11220/4016:220
A. Johnsson LW00030/0014:582
K. Kapanen RW00020/0017:341
A. Kerfoot C00016/2215:020
M. Marincin D00210/0217:121
M. Marner RW02220/1021:510
A. Matthews C30248/5019:560
W. Nylander RW11050/0016:220
R. Sandin D02220/0016:123
J. Spezza C01007/4008:580
J. Tavares C120212/11017:161
D. Timashov LW00000/0008:092
Total71003439/2710-17
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
L. Domingue (L)195140.73731:31
C. Schneider 141130.92927:03
GOALIESSA
L. Domingue (L)19
C. Schneider 14
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
F. Andersen (W)294250.86259:36
GOALIESSA
F. Andersen (W)29
GOALS
  • 3RD PERIOD
  • 2ND PERIOD
  • 1ST PERIOD
PENALTIES
  • 3RD PERIOD
  • 2ND PERIOD
  • 1ST PERIOD
  • 3RD PERIOD
  • 2ND PERIOD
  • 1ST PERIOD

123T
NJ17-22-7
0134
TOR25-16-6
3227
TEAM STATS
3.03
GF AVG
3.90
GA AVG
.56
Power Play
4.02
GF AVG
3.66
GA AVG
.71
Power Play
All times are US/Eastern.