Auston Matthews returns, helps Maple Leafs beat Rangers 3-2

Auston Matthews returns, helps Maple Leafs beat Rangers 3-2

NEW YORK – A wholesome Auston Matthews clearly makes a distinction because the Rangers realized in a tense late-December battle with the Maple Leafs.

Matthews led Toronto to a Three-2 victory towards New York in his first sport again since struggling a concussion on Dec. 9. He scored the successful objective halfway by way of the second interval and the Leafs held off a late push.

“Having among the best gamers on the planet again within the lineup is a fairly good Christmas present,” veteran ahead Matt Martin stated.

Nylander and Ron Hainsey additionally scored for Toronto, and Frederik Anderson stopped 30 pictures.

Matthews sat out the earlier six video games. The highest choose within the 2016 draft made a fairly transfer simply exterior the crease to present the Maple Leafs a Three-1 lead at 11:22 of the second interval. Zach Hyman and William Nylander assisted on the play.

“The lineup is healthier and deeper and once you get Matty again it’s what you do and (Zach) Hyman was what he was,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock stated. “Willy (Nylander) is a a lot better winger than he’s at heart at this level in his profession and once you get him again we’re a a lot deeper crew. Clearly, that makes an enormous distinction, plus we had an opportunity to clean up.”

Jimmy Vesey and J.T. Miller scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves that included two breakaway stops on Matthews and James van Riemsdyk. New York dropped solely its third sport at Madison Sq. Backyard within the final 15 contests.

The Rangers appeared to have tied it at Three at 12:09 of the third interval. Michael Grabner snuck a shot between Anderson’s pads. Nevertheless, Babcock challenged the play and the decision was overturned after the referees decided Kevin Hayes was offside.

“There have been undoubtedly different possibilities within the sport moreover that to tie it up,” Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei stated. “We simply got here up a bit quick.”

Nylander scored the sport’s first objective at 17:14 of the opening body when Matthews delivered a backhand move to arrange a one-timer. Matthews missed a point-blank alternative moments earlier than he arrange Nylander.

“We needed to give attention to enjoying effectively for 60 minutes,” Matthews stated. “Then have a pleasant three-day break.”

Vesey was capable of steal the puck from Andersen to make it 2-1 at 2:37 of the second interval. Vesey banked the puck in off Andersen as he tallied his eighth of the season and prolonged his level streak to a few video games.

Maple Leafs defenseman Hainsey scored a power-play objective 50 seconds into the second interval to present Toronto a 2-1 lead. The veteran defenseman blasted a one-timer from the precise level whereas van Riemsdyk offered a display in entrance. Lundqvist argued he was interfered, nonetheless Rangers coach Alain Vigneault selected to not problem the play.

“We’re not one of many high groups,” Lundqvist stated. “We’re a kind of groups which might be going to battle actually onerous to get in, so we’d like one of the best effort each night time to have an opportunity. We got here a bit quick right here towards a very expert crew. The nice factor is we by no means gave up and we labored actually onerous, particularly within the second half of the sport, to attempt to come again.”

Late within the second interval, Lundqvist mishandled the puck which led to a Nazem Kadri scoring probability at 19:36. Lundqvist appeared to have made the save whereas standing behind the crease. After a video assessment, the referee’s introduced the decision of no objective on the ice wouldn’t be overturned.

Pavel Buchnevich made a no-look backhand move to Miller when the Rangers scored their second objective at 11:25 of the third interval. Miller prolonged his particular person level streak to 6 video games towards Toronto.

Miller, changed Mika Zibanejad on the highest line for a lot of the third interval. The Swedish heart returned from a concussion on December 19th, however solely noticed the ice for 36 seconds within the last body.

NOTES: Rangers introduced on Friday that ahead Jesper Quick suffered a quad pressure towards the Devils and can miss the subsequent two to a few weeks. . Boo Nieves returned to the lineup after being a wholesome scratch the earlier two video games. Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh skated in his 499th NHL profession sport. . New York scratched defenseman Steven Kampfer . Toronto scratched forwards Kasperi Kapanen and Jose Leivo in addition to defenseman Martin Marincin.