Toronto Maple Leafs: Kapanen and Matthews Are a Dynamic Duo

Toronto Maple Leafs: Kapanen and Matthews Are a Dynamic Duo
Leafs Rielly continues historic start in win vs. Red Wings
DETROIT — Auston Matthews heard the short list of NHL greats he joined by scoring nine times in the first five games of the season.

Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Marleau, Mario Lemieux and Mike Bossy are the only other players in league history to pull off the feat.

One more for you that might be surprising: Matthews now has four power-play tallies in 2018-19. In 62 games last year, he only found the back of the net five times on the man advantage. The most power-play goals hes scored in a single season is eight when he played all 82 contests of his rookie campaign.

“Nice,” Matthews said after scoring twice for a league-leading nine goals to help Toronto beat Detroit 5-3 Thursday night.

AM34 netted his eighth and ninth goals of the year (both on the man advantage) in Torontos 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on Thursday night. It feels like were running out of words and statistics to comprehend his electric start to the campaign.

Morgan Rielly passes Bobby Orr for arbitrary, yet impressive record

“He had a fast start last year, too, unfortunately he got injured,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. “Hes a big man. Hes really worked hard on his body. Hes worked hard on his skating and all parts of his game. With and without the puck, hes better.”

No matter how you look at the numbers though, Im sure that Auston Matthews and Co. are only focused on one stat – their teams record. At the end of the day, thats what matters and that looks pretty good too. Theyre 4-1-0 and sitting atop the Atlantic Division.

SIMMONS: The William Nylander conundrum — there is no right and wrong for either side in ongoing stalemate

Morgan Rielly had a goal and an assist, giving him 12 points to surpass Bobby Orrs strong start during the 1973-74 season. Among defencemen, Rielly trails only Harry Cameron, who had 15 points in the Toronto Arenas first five games of the 1917-18 season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are only five games into the season but it seems that every time they hit the ice, Mr. Matthews feels the need to remind the world that hes pretty alright at the sport.

Nick Jensen gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead midway through the first period and scored a second goal midway through the third to pull them within a goal.

Share Share Game Recap: Matthews and Rielly continue to set the world on fire, Leafs win 5-3 tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Can anyone stop this powerplay? It sure does not seem like it. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images The Maple Leafs travelled to Detroit to take on Dylan Larkin and the Red Wings tonight, and this matchup sure looked lopsided on paper. Toronto came into this game having scored seven goals in each of their past two games, and the Red Wings simply dont have a ton of talent on the back-end to matchup against this high-powered offence.

Video: 10/11/18 Condensed Game: Maple Leafs @ Red Wings

Soon after Jensens second goal, Matthews took advantage of a power play by scoring his second goal of the game.

Nazem Kadri took an undisciplined slashing penalty five minutes in, as he retaliated after a big hit from Tyler Bertuzzi. Not long after the power play expired, Martin Marincin pinched, John Tavares failed to cover from him, and Darren Helm streaked in on a three-on-one. He would slide the puck over to Nick Jensen, who made no mistake by firing a wrist shot past a sprawling Frederik Andersen.

Detroit pulled within a goal again when a review determined Dylan Larkin scored with 6:04 left in the game. The Red Wings pulled Jimmy Howard to add an extra skater, but Ron Hainsey scored an empty-net goal to seal the win.

“I didnt like the third,” said Babcock, a former Detroit coach. “We didnt take care of the puck as good and we didnt keep our foot on the gas.”

Howard had 30 stops for the rebuilding Red Wings, who have lost their first four games for the first time since the 1980.

“Bits and pieces of the game we did some of the good things, but it wasnt enough done right,” Detroit defenceman Niklas Kronwall said.

Athanasiou: Nylander will be ready when he returns

John Tavares, the top prize in free agency last summer, had four assists for the Atlantic Division-leading Maple Leafs, winners of three straight.

Kelly broke into the NHL as a 20-year-old with the Red Wings in the 1947-48 season and skated 13 years on the blue line in Detroit. As a Red Wing, he played in 846 games and scored 162 goals and 472 points. He also won four Stanley Cups in the 1950s with them and the first Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenceman in 1953-54.

“Its great for the all the guys who are doing some scoring right now,” Babcock said. “It makes you feel good. In the end, though, its about winning. It doesnt really matter who does the scoring as long as you find a way to win. Its an exciting time for our team, but weve got to get a lot better.”

I wish to thank (Red Wings owners) Marian and Chris Ilitch for this great honour, Kelly said in a press release. The Red Wings gave me my start in the NHL 71 seasons ago. I proudly wear the ring which commemorates the four Stanley Cups the team won when I played for Detroit.

NOTES: Matthews joined Sweeney Schriner (1944-45) and Corb Denneny (1921-22) in team history as the three players who scored in each of its first five games in a season. … The Red Wings announced before the game they will retire Hall of Famer Red Kellys No. 4 jersey on Feb. 1, 2019, when they host Toronto. Kelly played in Detroit from 1947-60 and for the Maple Leafs from 1960-67. Toronto retired his jersey two years ago. … Jensen has scored three of the six goals in his career against Toronto. The defenceman did not score in 81 games last season and had four the previous season as a rookie.

NOTES: Matthews joined Sweeney Schriner (1944-45) and Corb Denneny (1921-22) in team history as the three players who scored in each of its first five games in a season. … The Red Wings announced before the game they will retire Hall of Famer Red Kellys No. 4 jersey on Feb. 1, 2019, when they host Toronto. Kelly played in Detroit from 1947-60 and for the Maple Leafs from 1960-67. Toronto retired his jersey two years ago. … Jensen has scored three of the six goals in his career against Toronto. The defenceman did not score in 81 games last season and had four the previous season as a rookie.

Thursday NHL odds: Maple Leafs, Canadiens among betting favourites

The Toronto Maple Leafs No. 1 defender matched Bobby Orrs somewhat-arbitrary, but undeniably impressive 45-year-old record for the most points by a defender through the first five games of a season (in the modern era, of course) by notching his 11th and 12th in Thursdays matchup versus the Detroit Red Wings.

“Its great for the all the guys who are doing some scoring right now,” Babcock said. “It makes you feel good. In the end, though, its about winning. It doesnt really matter who does the scoring as long as you find a way to win. Its an exciting time for our team, but weve got to get a lot better.”

And to equal Orr, it was no cheapie. Rielly absolutely powdered a drop pass from Mitch Marner after jumping into the rush in transition to match his mark, before surpassing it with a primary assist later on.

Morgan Rielly had a goal and an assist, giving him 12 points to surpass Bobby Orrs strong start during the 1973-74 season. Among defencemen, Rielly trails only Harry Cameron, who had 15 points in the Toronto Arenas first five games of the 1917-18 season.

(By the way for all you history buffs, a defenseman with the Toronto Arenas named Harry Cameron actually had nine goals and 15 points through five games over 100 years ago in the NHLs founding season, but, yknow, things have changed a bit).

“He had a fast start last year, too, unfortunately he got injured,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. “Hes a big man. Hes really worked hard on his body. Hes worked hard on his skating and all parts of his game. With and without the puck, hes better.”

Rielly maintains the provisional league lead in points by one over goal-scoring machine and teammate Auston Matthews.