Toronto won the game 3-2, thanks to Matthews, who was playing for the first time since returning from a concussion he suffered during a December 9th game. Matthews scored a goal in the 2nd period that allowed the Leafs to go the distance and hold off New York for the win.
Leafs forward Matt Martin stated,
“Having one of the best players in the world back in the lineup is a pretty nice Christmas gift”
Both Ron Hainsey and Nylander scored for the Leafs and Anderson was able to stop 30 shots.
Austin Matthews was drafted in 2016 and used his skills and gave the Leafs a three-goal lead halfway through the 2nd period. He was assisted by William Nylander and Zach Hyman.
Coach Mike Babcock stated
“The lineup is better and deeper and when you get Matty back it is what you do and Zach Hyman was what he was. Willy Nylander is a much better winger than he is at centre at this point in his career and when you get him back we are a much deeper team. Obviously, that makes a big difference, plus we had a chance to freshen up.”
Toronto Maple Leafs
As for the Rangers, J.T Miller and Jimmy Vesey both scored and with 34 saves, Henrik Lundqvist, who was successfully defending the goal against two breakaways did a solid job, even with factoring in the loss during his third appearance at the famed Madison Square Gardens.
The Rangers Michael Grabner scored in the third and it looked like they had tied the game, however, the goal was challenged by Babcock. This proved successful after Kevin Hayes was found to be offside and the goal was reversed after it was determined that one of the Ranger players was offside.
Brady Skjei, the Rangers defenseman stated
“There were definitely other chances in the game besides that to tie it up, we just came up a little short.”
The game’s first goal was scored 17 minutes thanks to Nylander who received a pass from Autin Matthews. This was a welcome recovery considering Matthews has missed a perfect opportunity prior to Nylander being set up and put the puck past Lundqvist.
“We wanted to focus on playing well for 60 minutes, then have a nice three-day break.”
Hainsey, the Leafs defenseman managed to score a goal on the power play at the beginning of the 2nd period and this game the team a 2-1 advantage. As a seasoned defenseman, he shot it from the point as Riemsdyk blocked the goaltender’s view. Lundqvist complained to officials saying Riemsdyk has interfered with the goaltender yet Alain Vigneault decided to let it go uncontested. This always leads to heated argument, contested or not for hockey bettors who have an interest in the game.
“We are not one of the top teams, we are one of those teams that are going to battle really hard to get in, so we need the best effort every night to have a chance. We came a little short here against a really skilled team. The good thing is we never gave up and we worked really hard, especially in the second half of the game, to try to come back.”
It was the mishandling of the puck that gave Nazem Kadri the opportunity to score. It appeared that Lundqvist, who was behind the crease, had been successful stopping the puck. However, upon reviewing video of the play the ref decided it was a no goal.