Matthews scored the opening goal and assisted on another Kadri overtime game-winner as the Maple Leafs edged the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in OT.
With that, the Maple Leafs won all four games of their just-concluded road trip. In doing so, they took a point from a Bolts squad that needs to make the most of their home dates.
Matthews’ goal was one of those displays that prompts people to wonder how, in the world, he’s only a rookie:
William Nylander factored into Kadri’s overtime-winner, too, continuing the theme of young and almost-as-young players coming through:
The Leafs edged the Lightning in shots on goal by a margin of 35-27, so it’s not like this was a matter of timely scoring alone.
This is a real confidence-boosting run for the Leafs with a challenging start to 2017 looming. They face the hype and distractions of the 2017 Centennial Classic as a “home game” and then follow that with four of five on the road.
That isn’t easy, but Toronto has immediate evidence that they can keep rolling even with a tough stretch of scheduling breaks. That’s the sort of confidence that can make you, well, dangerous.
Working out the Kinkaid: Devils steal one from Capitals via shootout
Just about every number indicated that the Washington Capitals should have beaten the New Jersey Devils in a walk.
The Capitals dominated the shots on goal by a margin of 44-27. New Jersey had lost its last seven games against Washington. The Caps are in the thick of the Metropolitan Division race while the Devils are closer to being a cellar dweller.
All logic would point to Washington winning, but instead, Kinkaid played one of his best games in the NHL and the Devils won 2-1 via a shootout on Thursday.
The Devils were 1-8-1 in their last 10 games coming into Thursday and only had four wins since Nov. 15, so this win must bring some serious relief (even if they probably got a little lucky).
Washington, meanwhile, must be feeling a little frustrated. It seemed like the Capitals were regaining their dominant form with a six-game winning streak from Dec. 5-16, but they’ve now lost four of their last five games (1-2-2).
The two teams meet again in New Jersey on New Year’s Eve, so we’ll see how their efforts compare in these two games.
Video: Al Montoya’s save of the year entry vs. the Panthers
Al Montoya enjoyed some of the best moments of his career as an NHL backup with the Florida Panthers. Maybe facing his old team will help him turn things around after some early struggles with the Montreal Canadiens?
A highlight reel save won’t erase that 10-0 blowout from the Columbus Blue Jackets, yet it’s also true that Montoya’s enjoyed enough moments that he can redeem himself.
But, really, that’s a discussion for later on. For now, let’s gape in awe at Montoya’s sprawling save, which you can watch in the video above.
Update: To make things even sweeter, the Canadiens helped Montoya get the win with this overtime-clincher.
Forever a Senator – Senators retire Daniel Alfredsson’s number 11
Life has been frustrating for the Boston Bruins lately, and the first period of Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres held true to that pattern.
For one thing, the Sabres generated a 2-0 lead and 16-9 shot advantage against the Bruins.
That’s a smaller concern than the health of forward David Backes, however. It’s too early to tell if he suffered an injury via this hard hit by William Carrier. Video of the hit is avaliable above, but you can also watch the check from a couple angles in GIF form: