July 20th, 2024

Domi helps Maple Leafs pummel Penguins 7-0

By Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press on December 16, 2023.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Timothy Liljegren (37) holds off Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby (87) as Leafs goaltender Martin Jones (31) makes a save during second period NHL action in Toronto on Saturday Dec. 16, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO – Max Domi sufficiently stepped in for a flu-ridden Auston Matthews by scoring a goal and two assists to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 7-0 throttling of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

The Maple Leafs (16-6-6) blowout win stopped the Penguins’ (13-13-3) two-game win streak before 18,921 at Scotiabank Arena.

In his return, it was quite the downer for former Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas. He departed last summer to run the Penguins.

In his second start for Toronto, Martin Jones made 38 saves to earn his first shutout since he was with the Seattle Kraken and blanked the Bruins in Boston 3-0 with 27 stops.

Pittsburgh outshot the home side 38-34.

The flu has run through the Maple Leafs dressing room in the past week, claiming Matthews as its latest victim. Domi moved up from his third-line centre role to play between Mitch Marner and rookie Matthew Knies.

Domi sprung Knies for the game’s first goal, 1:57 after the opening faceoff. Domi also started the play that led to Marner’s 13th of the season to put the Maple Leafs in front 2-0 midway through the opening period, stripping Pittsburgh’s Jeff Carter of the puck in the Toronto end.

Bobby McMann of Wainwright, Alta., gave the Maple Leafs a three-goal advantage with 1:35 remaining before the first intermission. The successful rebound was the 27-year-old McMann’s first NHL goal in his 17th career game.

In an odd twist, Dubas signed the undrafted McMann after four years at Colgate University. He made his NHL debut at 26 when Matthews was forced out of the lineup with an injury against the Nashville Predators last Jan. 11.

After missing most of training camp with a knee ailment, McMann had to clear waivers before being demoted to the AHL Toronto Marlies. The Maple Leafs doubled their lead with three more goals in the second period. Domi exhibited good patience to outwait Pittsburgh goalie Tristan Jarry.

Jarry was lifted in favour of backup Alex Nedeljkovic after allowing four goals on 12 shots.

Nedeljkovic surrendered power-play goals to Maple Leafs captain John Tavares and first-year Maple Leafs forward Noah Gregor. William Nylander converted a pass from Tyler Bertuzzi at the 14:19 mark of the final frame.

BRODIE ALSO OUT

Toronto defenceman TJ Brodie also missed the game because of the flu. Like Matthews, it was the first game of the campaign Brodie missed.

This leaves Domi, Marner, Tavares, Gregor, Nylander, Morgan Rielly, David Kampf, Bertuzzi and Calle Jarnkrok as the remaining Maple Leafs to have suited up for all 28 games.

UP NEXT

Maple Leafs: The Metropolitan Division-leading New York Rangers visit Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday to take on the Maple Leafs.

Penguins: Host the Minnesota Wild on Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 16, 2023.

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