Auston Matthews had two goals and two assists, and John Tavares also scored twice to help the Toronto Maple Leafs rout the Florida Panthers 6-1 on Thursday night.
Matthews had his second four-point game of the season, as did Morgan Rielly with four assists. Mitch Marner added a goal and two assists, Nazem Kadri had a goal and an assist, and Frederik Andersen made 25 saves.
Matthews also had the 18th two-goal game of his career. Rielly is the first NHL defenseman to reach 40 points this season.
Henrik Borgstrom scored for Florida, and Roberto Luongo stopped 17 shots before getting the hook early in the third period. The Panthers beat Toronto 4-3 in overtime at home Saturday night.
The Leafs announced before the game that winger Zach Hyman was out with an ankle injury suffered Tuesday night in a 7-2 victory in New Jersey. Andreas Johnsson took his place on a line with Tavares and Marner, while Connor Brown was elevated to the third unit with Kadri and William Nylander.
After the teams traded a number of chances early, Toronto opened the scoring with 1:43 left in the first period as its dormant power-play unit snapped a 1-for-25 stretch.
With Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad off for interference, Marner drew all four Florida penalty killers toward him before whipping a cross-ice pass to Matthews, who made no mistake into the open side of the net past Luongo for his 18th goal of the season and a team-high seventh with the man advantage.
Marner’s assist was also the 125th of his career to pass Vincent Damphousse for the most by a Leafs player before age 22.
Matthews and Marner hooked up for a different type of performance a night earlier when they made cameo appearances as Cannon Dolls in The National Ballet of Canada’s “The Nutcracker” in front of a packed house in Toronto.
Luongo playfully tweeted after Matthews and Marner’s ballet debut that the talented 21-year-olds should get Thursday off, but the veteran netminder and his teammates were out of luck.
Matthews put Toronto up two when he took another cross-ice feed, this time from Rielly, and buried his 19th off the camera inside Luongo’s net at 3:50. Matthews, who missed 14 games with a shoulder injury, was playing for just the 21st time this season.
Kadri had a goal taken off the board five minutes later after it was ruled following video review that he had kicked the puck over the line, but eventually got his ninth, converting a pass from Brown on a 2 on 1.
Matthews had a chance at the hat trick on a power play early in the third, but Luongo stopped his shot before Taveres put in his 22nd from the crease at 2:38. Tavares added his 23rd off a pass from Marner at 5:41.
Borgstrom got a consolation goal, his first of the year, for the Panthers on a power play at 10:28 through a screen.
Marner then banked a shot of a Florida defender on another man advantage at 15:14 for his 10th.
NOTES: Matthews’ 18 two-goal games ranks him second behind only Alex Ovechkin’s 19 since Matthews entered the league in 2016-17. Matthews has just one hat trick in his career, which came in a four-goal outburst against Ottawa in his first NHL game. … Hyman’s status will be updated after having an MRI on his ankle. … Toronto defenseman Igor Ozhiganov was a late scratch with an illness. Martin Marincin took his place after sitting out the last 17 games.
Panthers: At Detroit on Saturday night.
Maple Leafs: Host New York Rangers on Saturday night.
Source: The Associated Press