Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

A Big Win For The Toronto Maple Leafs

04/05/2022 at 7:35am EDT

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs have planted a seed.

Maybe not growing into the first seed in the division quite yet, but one that roots their belief in winning a series or two in the hyper-competitive Atlantic Division. Toronto’s confidence certainly grew Monday when it stared down the two-time Stanley Cup-champion Lightning, one of their potential opening round opponents, in a 6-2 win.

Behind Matthews’ hat trick, which tied Rick Vaive’s franchise record of 54 goals in a season, from 1981-82, the Leafs outhustled a team that had their full attention.

“It’s humbling,” Matthews said of matching Vaive. “It means a lot, obviously, just to be in the same sentence as a guy like Rick and these other guys that have come before, representing what it means to be a Toronto Maple Leaf.”

And the team’s dream of being first in the Atlantic, a wolf pack many said would consume the Leafs after being in the watered-down North Division last season, isn’t out of the question. If they can beat the Florida Panthers in regulation on Tuesday, the gap would be down to five points, with Boston winning to tie Tampa on Monday.

“These two games in Florida were like a flashing light on our schedule a long time,” said head coach Sheldon Keefe.

continued

Game highlights are below.

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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