July 25th, 2024

Auston Matthews scores hat trick, adds assist as Maple Leafs top Flames 4-3

By Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press on January 18, 2024.

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Martin Jones (31) looks on as Calgary Flames defenceman Noah Hanifin (55) trips defenceman Morgan Rielly (44) during second period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY – Auston Matthews scored three goals to bring his league-leading total up to 37 and added an assist as the Toronto Maple Leafs earned a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.

Mitch Marner also scored for Toronto (22-13-8), which snapped a four-game winless skid. William Nylander – snapping a four-game pointless drought – and Pontus Holmberg each had two assists.

Yegor Sharangovich, former-Leaf Nazem Kadri and Andrew Mangiapane provided the offence for Calgary (21-19-5). The Flames’ season-high four-game winning streak came to an end.

Kadri extended his point streak to eight games (6 goals, 5 assists).

Getting the win, Martin Jones made 24 stops to improve to 9-5-1.

Dan Vladar had 29 saves in a losing cause. His record falls to 7-6-2. No. 1 goaltender Jacob Markstrom (lower body) was not dressed and missed his second straight game.

A big moment in the game came late in the first period when Calgary captain Mikael Backlund rang a shot off the goalpost on a breakaway that would have given the home side a 3-0 lead.

Ninety seconds later, Matthews pounced on a mishandled puck inside the Flames blue line by defenceman Nick DeSimone and ripped a shot into the top corner to pull the Leafs within one at 18:24.

The Leafs carried that momentum into the second period by tying it at 4:08 when Matthews converted Nylander’s setup during a delayed penalty.

After Toronto surged in front at 7:44 with Marner’s 19th goal on a 4-on-3 power play, Matthews’ third of the night at 13:39 of the second sent hundreds of hats raining onto the ice from the boisterous Leafs supporters.

Vladar gloved a shot from Matthew Knies but couldn’t secure it before Matthews outmuscled DeSimone in the slot a buried the eventual game-winner on his backhand.

But before the second period ended, Calgary climbed back to within one on Mangiapane’s ninth goal at 17:53.

Originally waved off for being kicked in, the goal was overturned due to a Flames challenge when video review showed the puck deflected in off the stick of Leafs defenceman Timothy Liljegren after Mangiapane kicked it at the side of the net.

In the third period, the Leafs were the beneficiaries of a video replay reversal on what would have been the tying goal.

After Connor Zary appeared to tie it at 8:39, knocking in his own rebound, Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe called a timeout. Toronto then challenged for a missed glove-hand pass earlier in the sequence and it was determined that the puck glanced off the glove of Blake Coleman and went to Flames defenceman Jordan Oesterle seconds earlier.

Calgary had its chances to try and pull even again, including getting a power play with nine minutes remaining, but they couldn’t take advantage.

The Flames struck first at 10:52 when Sharangovich made it seven goals in his last five games and 19 on the season with a deflection at 10:52.

Kadri made it 2-0 five minutes later on a power play.


Calgary rookie RW Martin Pospisil was injured in a freak accident at 18:51 of the first period. After a Matthews shot from the faceoff dot in the Flames end, when he and Pospisil went to turn opposite directions, their skates came together with Pospisil stumbling and crashing heavily back and head-first into the corner boards. The 24-year-old, who has a long history of injuries, had to be helped off the ice.


Flames C Elias Lindholm has gone 12 games without a goal and has scored just once in his last 21 games. After scoring a career-best 42 goals two years ago, he had just 22 goals last season. Through 45 games this season, the 29-year-old pending free agent has just eight goals.


Maple Leafs: Continue their four-game Western road trip on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.

Flames: Play host to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2024.

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