Auston Matthews Makes Maple Leaf History as Toronto Takes Down Dallas in OT

Dallas played host to a piece of Toronto Maple Leafs history on Thursday evening as the Leafs came into town wrapping up a four game road trip.

The major story heading into the game was Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews needed one more goal to break Maple Leaf alumni Rick Vaive’s single season goal record of 54, which has stood for the past 40 years.

It always seemed like an unbreakable record for so many years with the constant talent showing up for the team and always falling short, but for many fans of the team since Matthews arrival, this night was a long time coming.

While Toronto would dominate most headlines, Dallas was coming into the game with seven wins in their last nine as they are trying to cling onto the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, and picking up two points against the Leafs would be tough but crucial in their hopes of playing in playoff hockey.

William Nylander would open the scoring midway through the first period after an awkward play in the Leafs zone.

After Stars foward Marian Studenic was streaking to the Leaf net he would lose his balance and take out Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell, as well as the Leaf net in the process. The officiating crew would allow the game to continue as the Leafs held control of the puck bursting through the neutral zone.

A drop pass to Nylander in the Stars zone from Ilya Mikayhev would see the young Swede/Canadian winger snipe a shot over newly acquired Stars goalie Scott Wedgewood for the opener, and Nylander’s 28th of the season.

Nylander has been another underrated Leaf story considering all the press surrounding Matthews. As he was critiqued for his play against Montreal on March 26 and following a subsequent “demotion” to the Leafs third line, Nylander has five goals and 10 points in the seven games since.

Noted Leaf killer Tyler Seguin would bunt the puck past Campbell just a little over two minutes later to tie the game at one a piece.

Seguin is also having himself a decent year alongside longtime teammate Jamie Benn with his 21st goal and 43rd point on the night.

By the end of the first period and well into the second period, the play from Scott Wedgewood should be commended by all fans watching that game.

While Matthews was obviously trying to break the record (with 10 shots on his own as the Stars only put up 11 midway through the second) and the rest of the Leafs also trying to retake the advantage, the play from Wedgewood was spectacular.

As the shot count read out 31-11 in favour of the Leafs with the clock winding down, Matthews and the Leafs saw their “Goal”den oppurtunity to put themselves ahead while also letting #34 hit goal #55 when Stars defenceman John Klingberg would be sent to the box for tripping.

Matthews looked to be determined to wire a laserbeam past Wedgewood on the ensuing Power Play, and after the Stars goalie made some ridiculous saves to keep Matthews and the other Leafs off the board, the young phenom wouldn’t be held back for much longer.

A quick play from behind the Stars net between John Tavares and Matthews would see Matthews get the puck to the Mark Giordano at the point who would feed Matthews almost immediately with a quick pass for a one-timer over the shoulder of Wedgewood to etch himself in Toronto Maple Leaf history.

With the goal he extends his lead in the goal scoring race over Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl to 55 for Matthews and 50 for Draisaitl.

Toronto’s lead would be short lived once again however as just a little over five minutes into the final frame as Joe Pavelski would spot a pinching John Klingberg on the half-wall as he would send a tape to tape pass for another one timer and past Campbell for his sixth goal of the season.

But just a little over halfway through the final frame the Leafs would retake the lead once more, and through a defenceman of their own when Morgan Rielly ripped home a one timer from a delicious feed courtesy of Mitch Marner as Rielly would reach double digit goals for for just the second time of his career and first time since he hit 20 goals in 2018-19.

However Dallas’s pushback would come with just under three minutes to go as Joe Pavelski would tip home a shot from Ryan Suter, going about five feet wide of the Leaf net, and under the shoulder of Jack Campbell who had no chance to save the day as the two teams picked up a point each after regulation ended.

In the extra frame however, Toronto would relent some pressure to the Stars as they waited for the perfect opportunity to strike.

Matthews would pick the puck up in the neutral zone before turning on the afterburners, beating both Seguin and than Suter before taking the puck around Wedgewood and slotting home his 56th goal of the season and the game winner as the Leafs took seven of a possible eight points from this road trip.

Toronto returns home on Saturday to play their longtime rivals in the Montreal Canadiens on what will surely be an intense Hockey Night in Canada matchup, while the Stars will welcome the New Jersey Devils in Dallas as they look to pick up another crucial two points.


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