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NHL: Auston Matthews didn’t want to settle for a hat trick

TORONTO – One hat trick is good, but two is better!

For a second straight game, Maple Leafs star forward Auston Matthews hit the target on three occasions and Toronto took advantage of his performance to triumph by a score of 7-4 against the Minnesota Wild.

Matthews became the fifth player in NHL history to start a season with two hat tricks in his first two games. The last to achieve this feat of arms was Alexander Ovechkin in 2017, who scored hat tricks against the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens.

At just 25 years old, this is already Matthews’ ninth hat trick in his career. He scored a hat trick earlier this week against the Habs.

Matthews isn’t the only Maple Leafs player to have a blast against the Wild. William Nylander also added three points to his personal record with two goals and an assist, while John Tavares, Mitch Marner and John Klingberg each collected two assists.

Calle Jarnkrok and Tyler Bertuzzi were responsible for the Maple Leafs’ other two goals in the victory.

In the Wild camp, the goals were the works of Ryan Hartman, Matt Boldy, Marco Rossi and Brandon Duhaime.

The Maple Leafs imposed their rhythm from the first period. After allowing the first goal of the game to Hartman, Toronto responded with two goals from Matthews and a net from Nylander, to take a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes of play.

After increasing their lead to three goals thanks to Bertuzzi, the Maple Leafs experienced more difficulties later in the second period. Boldy first cut the lead to two goals, before Rossi scored his first NHL goal to make it 4-3 with 20 minutes to play.

Toronto took the lead in the final period thanks to goals from Jarnkrok, Matthews and Nylander. Midway through the period, Matthews quickly came back from behind the net to surprise Flip Gustavsson and complete his hat trick.

Gustavsson conceded seven goals on 33 shots, while Ilya Samsonov got the victory thanks to a 28-save performance.

The Maple Leafs will host Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday in their next game. The Wild will be the Canadiens’ next opponent on Tuesday.

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