Matthews scores twice in Leafs’ 4-0 win over Vegas


TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs’ stars took advantage of the depleted Vegas Golden Knights with a 4-0 win Tuesday.

Auston Matthews scored twice for Toronto (5-4-1) in the Leafs’ third victory in a row.

Marner scored a highlight-reel goal in the first period and assisted on both Matthews goals in front of 18,689 at Scotiabank Arena.

William Nylander contributed a goal and an assist. Captain John Tavares was solid throughout the game working alongside Marner.

All the offensive flair threatened to overshadow a 26-save shutout by Maple Leafs starter Jack Campbell, who picked up his first since blanking the Calgary Flames 2-0 on Mar. 20, 2021.

Campbell’s shutout also came on a day of media reports speculating on a contract extension for the goaltender. He wouldn’t confirm negotiations had begun, but said he wanted to stay in Toronto.

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“I truly love it here,” Campbell said. “It’s a special group and special city. There is nothing more I would love to stay here.”

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Especially on nights like Tuesday, when the building was abuzz from Marner’s first-period goal.

He took a pass from Tavares in front of the Vegas net, eluded oncoming forward Jake Leschyshyn and deposited a backhand around goalie Robin Lehner.

“I saw the guy to my right,” Marner said. “I just tried to pull it away from him and then tried to pull it away from Lehner.

“It went in, and it’s obviously a good feeling to see it go in.”

After failing to score a goal in the seven-game loss in the first round of the playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens last spring, Marner went the first eight games without a goal this season.

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He’s now scored in back-to-back games.

“That’s the Mitch we know and love,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “He’s playing with confidence and looks like he’s playing free.”

Added Tavares: “It surprises you, but it doesn’t surprise you when you see who makes those plays. He’s obviously a special talent. Really fortunate to play with him. Just to see him go to work every day and do that stuff constantly, it always impresses you no matter what when he’s able to make the plays that he can and be a difference-maker like he is.”

The Maple Leafs outshot the visitors 34-26, with Matthews scoring a power-play goal early in the second period and another even-strength in the final minute. Nylander finished off the offensive output with a goal in the third period.

Toronto defenceman TJ Brodie played his 700th career regular-season game and assisted on the Leafs’ final goal.

The Golden Knights (4-5-0) were minus several top players because of injuries, including captain Mark Stone (lower body), Max Pacioretty (broken left foot), William Karlsson (broken foot), Alex Tuch (shoulder), Zach Whitecloud (lower body) and Nolan Patrick (undisclosed).

It took Vegas almost half of the first period to deliver a shot on Campbell. Maple Leafs defenceman Travis Dermott missed most of the second period after blocking a shot. An X-ray was negative for serious injury, and he returned to finish the game.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2021.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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