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Maple Leafs beat Capitals, edge closer to team win


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William Nylander, Michael Bunting and Ilya Mikheyev each scored twice, Auston Matthews had two assists for 101 points and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Washington Capitals 7-3 on Thursday night.

Ilya Lyubushkin also scored and captain John Tavares had four assists to help the Maple Leafs improve to 48-20-6, one shy of the team record set in 2017-18.

Matthews — with 58 goals and 43 assists — became the third player in Toronto history with 100 or more points. Darryl Sittler had 117 in 1977-78, and Doug Gilmour had 127 in 1992-93 and 111 in 1993-94.

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) and goaltender Jack Campbell (36) celebrate the team’s 7-3 win over the Washington Capitals in an NHL hockey game on Thursday, April 14, 2022 in Toronto.
(Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

“It’s humbling to be mentioned with these two guys,” Matthews said. “They paved the way for us and they did a lot for this team and this city.”

Matthews went two games without a goal, but has already set the club record. Eight games from the end, he is one step away from becoming the first American-born player to score 60 goals.

Nylander scored his 29th and 30th goals. Mitch Marner also had an assist to hit the 60 assist mark for the second time in his career. Jack Campbell made 22 saves for Toronto.

“It was a complete game for us,” Matthews said.

John Carlson, Tom Wilson and Nic Dowd scored for Washington. The Capitals had won four in a row.

Bunting ended a 17-game drought. “It will boost his confidence,” Matthews said. “He’s a big part of our line’s success.”

Toronto fourth line Kyle Clifford battled Tom Wilson after the Washington player crashed into Campbell and blew the goaltender’s mask off.

“I just got to the puck,” Campbell said. “It was a hockey game. I met him at the All-Star Game and thought he was a nice guy.”

Wilson was assessed a minor penalty for goaltender interference late in the first period, then battled Clifford in the second period.

NEXT

Capitals: In Montreal Saturday night.

Maple Leafs: In Ottawa Saturday night.


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