Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews continues torrid start, notches 10th goal

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs, equals Mario Lemieux with 10th goal, six games

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs, equals Mario Lemieux with 10th goal, six games

Auston Matthews scored two goals to increase his league-leading total to nine, and the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs topped the winless Detroit Red Wings 5-3 on Thursday.

Rinne made 29 saves, four on a Winnipeg power play midway through the third period and another on a breakaway by Blake Wheeler with three minutes remaining to preserve the shutout.

Toronto is off to scorching 4-1 start this season, thanks in no small part to Matthews' efforts. Brett Connolly played there for the first four games, but with his team coming off a 6-0 loss Thursday, Coach Todd Reirden decided to make a change.

Kasperi Kapanen had a goal and an assist and third-line winger Par Lindholm also scored for Toronto, which has won four straight to complete a ideal four-game road trip. He finished the season with an outrageous 87 goals and 118 assists, good for one of his four 200-point seasons (no other player has ever had 200 points in a season, although Mario Lemieux came close with 199 in 1988-89).

"Obviously, it's great that our big guys got off to a real good start because I think having them feeling good is so important", Toronto coach Mike Babcock said.

Chandler Stephenson and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for Washington.

Washington unleashed a sustained flurry late in the third period but couldn't get the equalizer.

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"I felt like, through the first two periods, we carried the majority of the chances", Reirden said.

Washington goalie Braden Holtby made 24 saves. I thought [Stephenson] brought the speed on the forecheck and was able to at least go after their defense a little bit and force some turnovers.

In the 1983-84 season, Gretzky had multiple points in the first seven games of the year before having his streak snapped. Holtby made big saves on Zach Hyman and Kapanen, both alone in front, and the Maple Leafs hit the post twice.

Kasperi Kapanen and Par Lindholm also scored for the Maple Leafs, who have won five of their first six games this season. Without looking at the net, Kuznetsov placed a shot over an unsuspecting Andersen's shoulder for his fourth power-play goal in five games.

Lindholm tied it when he redirected Jake Gardiner's pass by Holtby with 67 seconds left in the period for his first career goal.

"I really liked our first two periods", Reirden said, "keeping a risky hockey team to some limited chances". It was the first goal of 2018-19 for Boeser, who led the Canucks in scoring as a rookie last season but had struggled in his first three games this season. Washington sat C Jayson Megna, D Madison Bowey and LW Nathan Walker.

Elsewhere on the Saturday NHL odds, the Ottawa Senators look to rebound from a pair of lopsided defeats as they return home to battle the Los Angeles Kings as +125 underdogs. Washington, though, has struggled with consistency in the early going, falling to defeat in two road outings, capped by a 6-0 loss in New Jersey as a +100 wager on Thursday night.

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