So, Auston Matthews is back and his absolutely asinine toe-drag wrister hasn’t skipped a beat.
That Jack Eichel guy? Yeah, he’s pretty good too.
The pair of young American stars put on a show during Tuesday’s clash in Buffalo with each putting up two goals and Matthews adding an assist — and the overtime winner — to best his USA Hockey counterpart in their first head-to-head showdown of the season.
After missing more than a month with a shoulder injury, the Maple Leafs centre has been on a tear with five goals in three contests since his return to Toronto’s lineup last Wednesday.
And his nasty overtime winner against the Sabres Tuesday night was just classic Auston.
— NHL (@NHL) December 5, 2018
With time winding down in a thrilling 3-on-3 overtime and the game knotted at threes, Matthews picked up a Kasperi Kapanen drop pass before working his way towards the middle of the ice and unleashing his patented, devilish toe-drag and ripping one under the bar on Sabres netminder Linus Ullmark to give Toronto its fifth-straight win.
It was Matthews second highlight-reel snipe of the night, too, as he gloved one down before converting a wraparound in the second period to open the scoring.
The wraparound will never diepic.twitter.com/tJYsuV4gCF
— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) December 5, 2018
Eichel buried both the Sabres’ third-period goals — tying the game just under three minutes in and giving Buffalo the lead with seven minutes left in the frame.
Not much Freddie Andersen could do on this straight-up cannon from the Sabres captain.
Great pass by Risto, strong finish by Eichel. TOR's fourth line is going to have a tough time get any more ice time. pic.twitter.com/y1CV5u8WDY
— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) December 5, 2018
With the dramatic win, the Maple Leafs matched a franchise record for fewest games needed to reach 20 wins. Toronto now sits one point behind the Lightning for first in the NHL standings, with an 11-3 record away from Scotiabank Arena.
Matthews, meanwhile, is the only qualified forward in the NHL clipping at a goal-per-game pace.
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