Maple Leafs explode by hitting 7-3 capitals

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TORONTO — William Nylander, Michael Banting and Ilya Mikheev scored twice, and Auston Matthews scored 100 and 101 points with two passes in choking the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 over the Washington Capitals on Thursday.

Toronto captain John Tavares also made four secondary passes before 18,466 at the Scotiabank Arena. That win propelled the Maple Leafs (48-20-6) to a victory shy of the club’s record of 49, set in 2017-18.

Matthews became the third player in Maple Leafs history to score 100 points or more in a single season.

Daryl Setler was first, scoring 117 points in 1977-78. Doug Gilmore continued his 127-point year in 1992-93 with a 111-point campaign in 1993-94.

Toronto goalkeeper Jack Campbell scored his 28th victory as the host team beat the visitors 32-25. The Capitals (41-23-10) saw their winning streak in four straight games.

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Maple leaves were buzzing early. The Capitals needed 9:37 minutes before Lars Ilier took the first shot on target, away from Toronto striker Alex Kervot.

By then, Toronto already had a 1-0 advantage over a goal from rookie Michael Ponting, from Mitch Marner and Matthews. For his 100th point, Matthews made a great play along the boards to cash the disc to Marner.

Marner chased the disc as a souvenir for Matthews. Ponting was playing in his 100th career, and Marner made 60 assists for the second time in his career.

Fulfilling the open net, Nylander made up for the error by firing a 36-foot-long shot after a precise pass from Pierre Ingevall to lead 2-0 later in the opening period.

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The offense picked up in the middle of the second period with a four against four position because Ingval and Capitals Matt Irwin were out for roughing.

Washington defender John Carlson made a nice move around Levs defender Jake Muzin to score the first goal for the visitors.

But the Maple Leafs’ blue Ilya Lyubushkin responded with his new team debut 11 seconds later, and Nylander jumped on a space disk eight seconds later to score a 4-1 goal for Toronto.

The Maple Leafs added two more before the second break. Mikheev fired in Matthews’ pass, and Ponting converted two goals for one with an inflection.

Tom Wilson made it 6-2 in the final minute of the second half, smashing a pass from Eller to boost his career best goal total to 24 this year.

Mikheev added his second goal early in the final frame, and Nick Dodd responded in favor of the Capitals.

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on April 14, 2022.

© 2022 Canadian Press

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