It wasn’t the best game the Toronto Maple Leafs have played this season, but it was a victory that extended their winning record to 9-0-1 in the last 10 games. It also pushed goalie Jack Campbell’s winning streak to begin a season to a perfect 11-0-0, which obviously is his season’s record.
The game also showed the great fire power of the two great young players who are the core of the Maple Leafs’ group of forwards. Both Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner had four points on the night. Matthews scored a hat trick (and added an assist) to push his NHL-leading goals scored to 31 in total. And Mitch Marner threw in a goal and three assists to the cause.
How good is Matthews as a goal-scorer? This is the fifth-straight season that Matthews has scored at least 30 goals; in fact, he’s never not had a 30-goal season in his entire career.
Matthews’ Hat Trick Secures the Win over the Senators
Matthews was simply on fire against the Senators and led the team to their 6-5 win. There’s no doubt now that the wrist injury that had slowed him down and made him miss a few games isn’t an issue any longer. There’s no one close to him in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy. His 31 goals put him eight ahead of both the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid and the Colorado Avalanche’s Mikko Rantanen.
Matthews is also on a four-game goal-scoring streak; and, in those four games he’s scored seven goals and three assists (for 10 points). In fact, the idea of 50 goals in this 56-game season that just two weeks ago seemed so remote is now back in the conversation.
As far as total points goes, Matthews has suddenly snuck into the top three point producers in the NHL where he’s tied with teammate Marner and the Chicago Blackhawk’s Patrick Kane for third in NHL scoring behind the Edmonton Oilers’ twosome of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
As noted, Mitch Marner also had a four-point night in the win over Ottawa. He registered an assist on each of Matthews’ hat trick goals and scored a crucial goal to tie the game after the Senators came back from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead. He now has 14 goals and 38 assists (for 52 points) in 41 games. Marner is obviously always seeking to discover where his line-mate is on the ice and during the game his eyes are always searching for Matthews on the ice. It’s a tribute to how often the two hook-up for a goal, with one or the other of them getting the assist.
Marner and Matthews Have Great Chemistry on the Ice
There’s no doubt that the two first-liners for the Maple Leafs have great chemistry. In fact, one person who has a front-row seat for the entire game is the Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell. In the video below, Campbell speaks to the media in a post-game interview.
Campbell himself just registered his 11th-straight win to start the NHL season (which is an NHL record); however, he couldn’t stop from discussing the impressive play of his two highly-skilled teammates Matthews and Marner.
Jack Campbell’s Take on the Two Young Stars
After the question was asked, Campbell first noted that his “vocabulary wasn’t big enough to describe it (the chemistry).” He did say, however, that “it’s such a treat to watch.” It’s special to see “some of the plays they make on a nightly basis.”
Campbell believes that what Matthews and Marner “bring to this team is just invaluable.” However, Campbell seems as impressed that these “two superstars” (as he calls them) have their heads screwed on straight. He noted that “you’d have no idea when you talk to them outside the rink (because they are) the most down-to-earth guys.”
Finally, Campbell noted that “they just gel out there. They just work as a as a team and a pair; and, they’re just always thinking of the other guy.” Campbell was wowed by the amazing plays the two make and feels “sure lucky they’re on our team.”
By the way, these days the threesome of Matthews, Marner, and Campbell are tough to beat.
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