The two highest scoring teams through the opening few days of the NHL season met on Monday, and Auston Matthews played the hero.
Matthews scored the overtime winner, breaking down the right side of the ice on a two-on-one rush and firing a perfect wrist shot over the shoulder of back-up goalie Anton Forsberg to give the Maple Leafs a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
In what has been a chaotic, fun, high scoring opening week of the NHL season, these two teams had each scored 15 goals through two games entering Monday’s contest. Chicago was able to grab a two-goal lead in the third period, before the Maple Leafs began their comeback.
It seemed like only a matter of time before the dam broke for the Maple Leafs.
They dominated when it came to puck possession, per hockeystats.ca, and fired 43 shots against Forsberg, including 36 through the final two periods and into overtime. With that roster, equipped with that much top-end and youthful talent, it wasn’t long after the Blackhawks increased their lead that the Maple Leafs came roaring back on goals 2:42 apart from Connor Brown and James van Riemsdyk.
With the first overall selection of Matthews and his incredible arrival at the beginning of last season, the Maple Leafs have seen their rebuild accelerate. They made the playoffs and offered a significant challenge to the Washington Capitals. They still have a young roster that will be challenged at points throughout this season, especially when (or if) those younger players go through any prolonged slumps.
The expectations around this group have certainly increased in the last year. They’re off to a 3-0 start, and have been piling up the goals. They didn’t put a large number on the board Monday, but they still illustrated how dangerous and dynamic they can be, with Matthews putting the finishing touches on that versus the Blackhawks.