Kadri's Hat Trick Heroics Lift Maple Leafs 6-3 Over Washington

Toronto (6) Washington (3) Final

By: Gordon Brown

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Photo Credit: @MapleLeafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs ended a seven-game home losing streak after defeating the Washington Capitals 6-3 on Wednesday. Nazem Kadri led the way for Toronto with a hat trick and added an assist as well, while William Nylander contributed a career-high three assists in a breakout performance.

Despite Washington’s seventh straight loss, Alexander Ovechkin tied Sergei Fedorov for most points by a Russian player with his league-leading 37th goal of the season—the 1179th point of his career. The 33-year-old chose to prolong his one-game suspension for choosing to skip this weekend’s All-Star festivities.

Washington opened the scoring with a goal from Nicklas Backstrom, only for that lead to be erased 0:47 later by Nazem Kadri’s first goal of the evening. The Leafs managed to ride that momentum into the following period, but not without pushback as Ovechkin notched a go-ahead tally just 3:51 into the second frame.  

Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner were united on a set line for the first time since arriving in the National Hockey League but did not combine for any scoring plays in the game.

A pair of goal-scoring droughts ended as the second progressed and Nikita Zaitsev would be the first, recording his first goal of the season and first in 53 games dating back to last season. Subsequently, Matthews gave the Leafs a 3-2 advantage with his first tally in eight games. 

With 21 goals on the season, Matthews is scoring at a 0.60 goals-per-game rate and would be on pace for 49 goals over an 82 game season.  

The Maple Leafs continued strongly into the third and added two more goals courtesy of Nazem Kadri, who picked up his fifth career hat trick. His pair of goals extended Toronto’s lead to 5-2 and seemingly ended Washington’s hopes of a comeback. 

This happened to be William Nylander’s second multi-point game of the season, although his hot streak may be hindered by the impending All-Star break. He joked post-game; 'Yeah, I might not have wanted the break right now.' (Credit Terry Koshan @KoshTorontoSun).

Washington added a goal by Matt Niskanen but Mitch Marner soon erased its significance with an empty-net tally, what would be his 20th of the season. The Maple Leafs ultimately walked away with a 6-3 victory.

Furthermore, Morgan Rielly became the first Maple Leafs defenceman to post back-to-back 50 point seasons since Tomas Kaberle accomplished the feat in 2005-06 (Credit @PR_NHL). Keep in mind, Rielly has played just 49 games thus far and is a serious candidate for the Norris Trophy moving forward.

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