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Matthews’ 2nd straight hat trick propels Maple Leafs past Wild

Auston Matthews registered his second hat trick in as many games to open the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs thumped the visiting Minnesota Wild 7-4 on Saturday.

William Nylander added two goals and an assist, Calle Jarnkrok had a goal and an assist, and Tyler Bertuzzi also scored for Toronto, which got 28 saves from Ilya Samsonov.

Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly added two assists each.

Matthews is the fifth player in NHL history to open a season with back-to-back hat tricks, joining Alex Ovechkin (2017-18), Cy Denneny (1917-18), Joe Malone (1917-18) and Reg Noble (1917-18).

Matt Boldy, Ryan Hartman, Marco Rossi and Brandon Duhaime replied for Minnesota. Jake Middleton and Connor Dewar both had two assists. Filip Gustavsson stopped 26 shots.

Toronto, which picked up a 6-5 shootout victory over Montreal in its season-opener Wednesday, fell behind at 9:32 of the first period when Hartman tipped a shot past Samsonov.

Matthews takes over

Matthews then started to take over.

The Leafs centre, who won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP in 2021-22 thanks to a 60-goal performance before finding the back of the next 40 times last season while dealing with a couple of injuries, fired past Gustavsson just 1:22 later.

Coming off the eighth hat trick of his career in the opener, Matthews made it 2-1 at 12:35 on a 4-on-3 power play when his shot from a sharp angle went in off a Minnesota stick for his fifth goal in four periods.

Nylander then brought the Scotiabank Arena back out of its seats on a breathtaking individual effort late in the period when he stepped past a couple of defenders and slotted home his second.

Gustavsson, who made 41 saves in a 2-0 shutout over Florida in Minnesota’s curtain-raiser Thursday, allowed Toronto’s fourth of the night when Bertuzzi scored his first with the Leafs on another power play at 3:35 of the second for a 4-1 lead.

But the Wild got back within two 34 seconds later when Boldy beat Samsonov on a shot the netminder will want back, and Rossi batted in his first NHL goal at 9:51 to make it 4-3 through 40 minutes.

Samsonov made a terrific save to deny Rossi his second early in the third and Gustavsson denied Matthews on a power play at the other end.

The Leafs went back up by two at 9:54 when Jarnkrok finished off a great pass from Rielly before Matthews completed the ninth hat trick of his career — and second on a wraparound 19 seconds later.

Nylander then added his second of the night and third overall off the rush at 12:15.

Duhaime got a consolation goal late in regulation on another night that belonged to Matthews.

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