A Dave Keon scoring record, no matter if the goaltender is absent, rarely gets matched.
But Zach Hyman — “the Sidney Crosby of 6-on-5” as Auston Matthews calls him — is set to pass one mark that the player voted best Maple Leaf in the first hundred years of the franchise had held since 1975.
When Hyman charged down the ice Saturday against Vancouver and buried his 12th career empty-netter, he tied Keon.
“That’s crazy, pretty cool,” said Hyman. “That’s a huge honour. Any time you get a chance to be mentioned in the same breath as Keon is pretty special.”
Hyman has played 298 Leafs games to Keon’s 1,062.
“They must have not pulled the goalie too much back then,” figured Hyman.
True, it’s done with far more frequency in the 21st century, much earlier in games and sometimes the goalie remains out after one empty-netter has been potted.
But that regular 20-goal scorer Hyman is always trusted to be out in the late stages to defend a lead puts him in position for such freebies. And rarely does Hyman fire wildly from long range to risk icings, staying in full checker mode and usually carrying the puck the whole distance to make sure it’s buried as he did Saturday.
“I don’t think about (the record) too much, I just take pride in it because that’s what seals the game 99.9% of the time,” Hyman said. “I’m happy that it results in a win.”
On contributions from all lines and D pairings tonight:
Well, the depth guys today did a great job for us. Not only providing offence but they gave us good shifts, worked hard, carried play for us, for the most part, when they were out there. We’re asking a lot of our defence — all our defence that are out there — we’re asking a lot of them to play different roles than they have all season for most of them. Guys did a good job. Marty [Marincin] did a good job all game, and yet had a tough stretch to end the second period there and he got quite tired. I believe his minutes were reaching a minute for [that shift]. He regrouped and made a big-time play there. I’ve come to only expect highlight reels from Marty with the Marlies. Every time he scored it was a memorable goal.
On what he has learned about the group over the last week:
I think just we’re working. We look like what we’re capable of when we’re going about it properly in terms of our preparation and our habits and our work ethic, competitiveness. And, frankly, I thought today we weren’t at the same level we were at on the road. The game was just different. I just thought we weren’t as sharp as we were on the road, so I didn’t love that, obviously. But, just once again, just responding to that first period and finding our way through all the ups and downs of it and then the game settles down and we stayed with it. We didn’t generate nearly as much offence as I thought we were capable of and would have liked to. We got enough to win the game. Not a perfect game defensively by any means, but volume of shots and activity at our net with our defence the way that it is and what we’re asking everybody to do. I think we did a nice job with everybody stepping up and it’s been a collective effort.
On the importance of trying to expand the gap on Florida in the standings this week:
We’ve got to win our games. That’s really all we can focus on thus all we need to take care of. It’s going to be important for us here to take this week, we feel good about it, now we’ve got a little bit of time here before we get going and play on Tuesday and we’re going to travel out there. We’re going to play against teams when you look at the standings that you’re going to think that there’s real opportunity there for us. But we’ve been watching those teams and looking at it. They’ve been playing good hockey and they’ve beaten good teams, those teams out there. It’s going to be competitive games. They’re important games for us, nonetheless. We’ve done pretty well on the road. Obviously, this week we did really well on the road. The sun worked in our favour so hopefully that will continue.
On the connection between the loss last Saturday to Carolina and the three-game win streak:
Well I think the only real connection, obviously, is there’s a real shock to the system when you have a night like that, right? You really get everyone’s attention. So that’s really what I would say. I think — it’s funny how you want to look at it, right? If you look at a six-game sample there, we had three games that were pretty messy. Or you look at a [five] game sample and four out of the five that we’ve played here — the Pittsburgh game on home ice, two road games and tonight. The connection is just we got a wakeup call. When we ended on the road, we got the guys attention on the importance of getting your stuff together, responding well. It’s going to be tough the rest of the way, all the way through, and we can’t have any lapses.
FREDERIK ANDERSEN (25 SAVES)
On what has led to the team’s lower event defensive efforts in recent games:
I think we really bought in to the way we want to play, and I think guys are doing a great job of selecting shots, especially down the end and obviously leading to some good goals. Just chill the game and I think we’ve been playing really tight as a group, so the resiliency has been great.
On bouncing back after allowing a couple of goals early:
Yeah, you said it. Just regroup and focus on what’s next. It doesn’t matter what’s happened, you can’t do anything about it early, but the most important thing is to focus on what’s next and that’s the next shot so all I can focus on.
ZACH HYMAN (1 GOAL)
On the three-game win streak:
Yeah, they’re not perfect games, for sure, but they are all wins, and they are all games where we’re playing against really good opponents and we have to battle in them and really earn our wins. So three huge games for us and it’s big.
On what he’s liked most from his team in the last three games:
I think everyone is contributing. I think that’s been awesome. Great for [Marincin] to get the game winner — what a goal, right? That really gets the bench alive and that was awesome. Obviously, we’re short on staff on the back on D but all those guys are stepping up and playing great. It was three great wins.
MARTIN MARINCIN (GAME-WINNING GOAL)
On his goal:
I just got a great pass by [Tavares] and the ice was open. I had good speed, so I felt like it was going to be a good shot and I was going to try. It goes in.
On his reaction to the goal:
I was so, so happy. It’s my first goal this season. I was excited for that and that goal made it 3-2 for us. Really good goal in the third period, that was good for the team, I think. I was excited.
AUSTON MATTHEWS (1 GOAL)
On a full team effort tonight:
It’s great, obviously love to see when you’ve got multiple lines with all guys contributing. Awesome to see Marv’s goal, it was unbelievable, so I think everyone was pretty excited after that one.
On if he’d seen Marincin score a goal like that before:
I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it before; you don’t see it often from old Marv but when he brings it out it’s usually a treat. It was pretty fun to watch.
Auston Matthews opened the scoring for the Maple Leafs at 4:11 of the first period and later registered the lone assist on Mitch Marner’s third period goal. Matthews has goals (2) and points (2-1-3) in two consecutive games. Tonight’s game is his 23rd multi-point performance of the season, which is tied for the third-most in the NHL. He has three goals and two assists in three games against Ottawa this season. In 15 career games against the Senators, he has recorded 13 goals and nine assists. His 13 goals against Ottawa mark his highest goal total against a single NHL opponent.
Jake Muzzin scored the second Toronto goal of the game at 1:53 of the second period. He has two assists over his last five games played. He has registered 11 (3-8-11) of his 16 points against Eastern Conference opposition.
William Nylander scored the third Maple Leafs goal of the night at 11:48 of the second period. Nylander has points (1-1-2) in two consecutive games. In six games during the month of February, he has recorded five points (2-3-5). He has 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists) in 28 road games this season.
Mitch Marner scored the fourth Toronto goal of the game into an empty net at 18:46 of the third period. Marner has points (1-1-2) in two consecutive games. He has two goals and an assist in three games against the Senators this season. In eight games during the month of February, he has recorded nine points (2 goals, 7 assists).
Zach Hyman registered the primary assist on Matthews’ first period goal. Hyman has points (3-3-6) in five consecutive games. He has 11 points (3-8-11) in 11 games against Atlantic Division opposition in 2019-20.
Travis Dermott collected the secondary assist on Matthews’ first period goal. Dermott has nine points (4-5-9) in 45 games played this season. He has recorded eight (3-5-8) of his nine points on the road in 2019-20.
Alex Kerfoot recorded the primary assist on Muzzin’s second period goal. Kerfoot has four assists over his last four games. In 15 games against Atlantic Division teams in 2019-20, he has recorded 10 points (4-6-10).
Timothy Liljegren had the secondary assist on Muzzin’s second period goal. Liljegren’s second period assist is his first career NHL point. He has 29 points (5 goals, 24 assists) in 38 games with the Toronto Marlies prior to being recalled by the Maple Leafs.
John Tavares notched the lone assist on Nylander’s second period goal. Tavares has assists (3) in three consecutive games and points (5-5-10) in seven consecutive games. He has recorded 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists) in 26 games on the road this season.
Jack Campbell stopped 25 shots to earn the victory.
Yeah, it’s just you take it as what it is, which is a good slap in the face and a good reminder of how we can’t play if we have any intention at all of being a successful team. A big step backwards for us here today, defensively. I thought coming out of that Winnipeg game, while we were pretty poor offensively, I thought we did a really good job defensively against their best players, especially. We knew that was going to be the key again here today. Clearly, we just weren’t even close.
On the team allowing odd-man rushes:
I don’t think it’s been an issue. Like I said, we just finished playing a Winnipeg team that is very dynamic offensively just like these guys and we gave them nothing. So, we were hoping to build upon that, but today was a problem for us. A lot of it is rigidity in the offensive zone. The first one here we get a bad bounce and we had numbers above the puck, we were in a pretty good spot, [Kerfoot] was tracking it. It takes a kind of funny bounce on him and then we lose positioning there. Then, the others, just kind of soft turnover, soft play on the puck on one. It’s a combination of different things but I don’t think it’s necessarily been a big issue for us as a team other than today.
FREDERIK ANDERSEN (8 SAVES)
On disappointment in tonight’s performance:
Yeah, I mean, I don’t think I had my best game either. I think I want to be able to make saves in big moments early on and I wasn’t good enough today either. So I think once they got the lead, we started maybe playing into their hand a little bit and maybe forced some pucks when we really didn’t need to and the game got out of hand. I think you see when we play well, I think we play with the puck a lot. So sometimes when we turn it over in the wrong places sometimes there’ll be a little bit too much room for the other teams when their skilled players come out. So this will be a good lesson for us to keep going and try to fix these things.
On if a lack of puck support led to chances for Florida tonight:
Yeah, I think a little bit. We need to be connected through all three layers of goalie, [defence] and forwards. I think that support is so huge for us to just sustain pressure and to open up the ice for them too much.
ZACH HYMAN (1 GOAL, 2 ASSISTS)
On moving past tonight’s game:
I think that you have to take away from — it’s a big learning experience, right? This is a big game for us, it was big game for us. They’re the team behind us in the division and they gained — it’s a four-point game and we didn’t show up. It’s a big learning experience for us moving forward. We’ve got to regroup and get ready for the next one.
On what the lessons are for the team from tonight’s performance:
Well, we can’t turn the puck over like we did, especially against a team that’s got the offensive guys like they do and their ability to transition. So, that’s first and foremost, right? Then just showing up. I don’t think that we gave Freddie a chance and I don’t think we gave Hutch a chance. There were way too many grade-A opportunities that went the wrong way.
ANDREAS JOHNSSON (11:06 TOI)
On his first game back since injury:
It’s nice to feel I got the tempo to hang in the game, able to skate and do some moves out there. So, for me it felt good in that way, but to come into this game and have that start is always tough.
MITCH MARNER (2 GOALS)
On how the game got away from them early on:
Forcing stuff in the middle but, at the same time, no F3, we’ve got guys diving in, we’ve got people leaving our goalies out to dry. It’s been too many games now. It’s unfair to a guy that’s been with us for the last four years. He’s been our backbone for the whole time. We’ve got to make sure we manage the puck better but, at the same time, we’ve got to manage that we’ve got a guy high and filing our spots when the [defence] are pinching.
On if there is a common theme in the six straight losses at BB&T Center:
No idea. I mean, tonight, like I just said, we were giving up too many chances, odd man chances. They’ve got a lot of guys and seemed like every guy that had a 2-on-1 had a gun of a shot or a hell of a vision to make a play. So, like I said, we’re leaving our goalie out to dry on multiple goals tonight and it’s so unfair to them and we’ve got to be way better.
JOHN TAVARES (1 GOAL)
On if this is one game of 82 that they can flush and move on:
I don’t think so. I mean, that was pretty disappointing considering what was at stake today. It’s just simply not good enough. We’ve got to be a lot more consistent and having these games and giving up the chances that we’re giving up is just not going to get us to where we want to get to.
On how the team can bounce back next game against New Jersey:
You’ve got to take care of the puck. As much as we’re going to have it a lot and we’re going to be dynamic, we’ve got to realize especially against a team like this that has some players that can really hurt you and are really talented, just giving up odd man rushes is not a recipe for success.
Zach Hyman opened the scoring for the Maple Leafs at 17:10 of the second period and later scored the Maple Leafs’ third goal of the night at 8:51 of the third period before adding a secondary assist on Auston Matthews’ second third period goal. Tonight’s game is his second multi-goal and second multi-point performance of the season. Hyman has four points (2-2-4) over his last four games. He has three goals and an assist in five games on home ice this season. Hyman has scored six goals in nine games during the month of December. Tonight’s game ties Hyman’s single-game career-high for points with three (Previous: March 25, 2019 vs. FLA).
Auston Matthews scored Toronto’s second goal of the game on the power play at 2:18 of the third period and later had the lone assist on Hyman’s third period goal before adding Toronto’s fourth goal of the game at 13:39 of the third period. Matthews has points (4-3-7) in three consecutive games. Tonight’s game is Matthews’ sixth multi-goal and 13th multi-point game of the season. His six mutli-goal performances are tied for the most in the NHL this season. He has 19 points (12 goals, 7 assists) in 14 career games against Detroit, which is his highest point total against a single opponent.
Morgan Rielly had the lone assist on Hyman’s second period goal. Rielly has three assists over his last four games. He has three assists in three games against Detroit this season. In 13 games against Atlantic Division opponents, Rielly has recorded 10 points (2-8-10). With his assist in the second period, Rielly tied Phil Kessel for 23rd on the Maple Leafs’ all-time assist register with 213.
John Tavares registered the primary assist on Matthews’ first third period goal. Tavares has four points (1-3-4) in three games against the Red Wings this season. He has 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) in 10 games against Atlantic Division opposition.
Mitch Marner collected the secondary assist on Matthews’ first third period goal and later had the primary assist on Matthews’ second third period goal. Marner has points (4-8-12) in seven consecutive games. Tonight’s game is his sixth multi-assist and ninth multi-point game of 2019-20.
Michael Hutchinson stopped 29 shots to earn the victory.
The Maple Leafs went 1-for-1 on the penalty kill and went 1-for-2 on the power play tonight.
At 17:10 of the second period, a video review was initiated to determine whether or not a Zach Hyman shot crossed Detroit’s goal line before the net came off its moorings. Video review determined that the puck completely crossed the Detroit goal line before the net came off its moorings. Result: Goal Toronto
Frederik Gauthier and Trevor Moore were the lone Maple Leafs to not start a 5-on-5 shift in the offensive zone.
Morgan Rielly was on the ice for a team-high 23 Toronto shot attempts-for at 5-on-5 tonight. Rielly finished the game with a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 47.9 percent (23 for, 25 against).
John Tavares won 71 percent (5 won, 2 lost) of his offensive zone faceoffs.
Monday, December 23, 2:00 p.m. vs. Carolina Hurricanes (Sportsnet Ontario, FAN 590)
Friday, December 27, 7:00 p.m. at New Jersey Devils (Sportsnet Ontario, TSN 1050)
Saturday, December 28, 7:00 p.m. vs. New York Rangers (Sportsnet, Sportsnet 590 The FAN)
Tuesday, December 31, 6:00 p.m. at Minnesota Wild (Sportsnet Ontario, TSN 1050)
Thursday, January 2, 8:00 p.m. at Winnipeg Jets (TSN4, FAN 590)
Well, I don’t like that it was 5-4. I really liked our start, I thought we had an outstanding start and played really well. The period was over, we were down 2-0. I thought we crawled our way back and had a really good second period; gave up very, very little. In the end, we gave up the goal at the end of that and then I thought in the third period we weren’t as good as we needed to be in order to have success and crawl our way back. It’s a one-goal game at the end, but the way – I would have liked it better at 3-2, to be honest with you. We’ve got to do a better job. Tonight the special teams battle is 2-0 for them and, so, you can’t win enough games losing the special teams battle so we’ve got to do a better job in that area, for sure. I really liked the start of our game, I liked our energy, I liked our execution, I liked how much time we played in the O-zone. I thought Tavares’ line played in the O-zone more than they’ve played all year, that was good for us.
On Muzzin saying weird lapses led to goals:
When you go through it, the first one we had total control of the puck, managed to turn it over twice, it goes in our net. The third one – the penalty came after a turnover – and then the third one was one of those ones that, to me, it was a simple play for us and we didn’t make it. The bottom line is we’re through 20 games now and, when you evaluate what we’ve done in 20 games, we don’t like it as a group. We think we can be better and we’ll identify the areas again here tomorrow as we go through it and grind our way out of this. We got ourselves in the spot we’re in, we’ve got to grind our way out of it.
On if the team seems frustrated through 20 games:
I don’t think that’s been the case at all. I thought we’ve had good energy and I think we’ve done lots of really good things. In saying that, tonight after the first period, after the second period, you feel you’ve played really well and should be ahead in the game. You’re not ahead in the game. Just stay the course, stay patient, take care of the puck and, if you do good things in life, good things happen.
On Hyman’s return to the lineup:
Like I said to you, I thought Tavares’ line played – I don’t know how many heavy shifts they had, but they had a lot. They spent a lot of time in the offensive zone. I didn’t – I said it yesterday, I had no idea what to expect, I really didn’t. I didn’t know he could be out that long and still come with that energy. Maybe there’s going to be a drop, I don’t know that, but I thought he did a good job in all areas of the game.
ZACH HYMAN (17:37 TOI)
On his first game back since off-season surgery:
Felt good, felt strong. I didn’t worry about my knee which was good. Thought I just went out there and tried to play my game and just kind of pick up where I left off, which was six months ago. It’s a long time but I felt good.
On how the team can improve the penalty kill:
We’ve just got to find confidence. We’ve got to string some kills together. The bounces just aren’t going our way right now. I think if we get back on track, we’ll string a run together. That’s what good PKs do, they get on a roll and they find their confidence and it feels like you don’t get scored on ever. So, we’ll get that fixed and come back strong.
JAKE MUZZIN (1 ASSIST)
On back-to-back one goal losses:
I think we have confidence in this group, in the team and in this room. We’re just having some weird lapses in the game and it’s costing us. I think we just have to be sharper throughout a full 60, shift-to-shift, more focus, better preparation I think and we’ll come out on top in these games.
On where the team can make improvements on the penalty kill:
I don’t know. I mean we’ve got to look at the stuff, I haven’t looked at it. I don’t even know how many penalties we took tonight, how many did we take tonight? [Three] So, that’s better, but we let two goals in, so that’s not good. We’ve got to look at some stuff and clean it up.
WILLIAM NYLANDER (1 GOAL)
On tonight’s performance:
I think we played a good game for the most part. We’ve just got to sharpen up on a few things to not let them score goals.
On what prevented the power play from having success:
I think the one where we had a faceoff in the D-zone and they jumped us, we’ve got to be ready there. I mean, we’ve got to be more determined like we were in the last couple of minutes of the game.
JOHN TAVARES (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)
On going down early and not being able to finish the comeback:
It feels like when we do make a mistake it seems to really hurt us. Because I thought, especially in the first period, we had a pretty good first period until they got their first goal and then they capitalize on the power play and got the momentum. We played really well again in the second, didn’t come out the greatest in the third and, you know, they got another power play goal so special teams really hurt us today. It just seems like when we do make a mistake we’re getting burned. I think parts of this game we did a lot of good things. We tried to stay patient, stayed with it, got ourselves back in it, but just too many mistakes leading to too many against.
On where he sees the team after 20 games into the season:
Well, I just think we’re not where we want to be. Obviously, we want to play a lot better, a lot more consistent. We’ve got to keep working to find a way. At times it feels like it’s going against us and that’s just the nature of it. Sometimes it’s the way hockey goes, the way the game goes and you’ve just got to mentally stick with it and keep playing and keep trying to find a way to turn the tide and consistently up your level and up your consistency and get things snow balling in the right direction. We’ve had that for points in the year but we haven’t really been able to sustain it as long as we’ve liked. Obviously, something we need to continue to do and the results are obviously critical. We’ve done good things but we know we’ve got to get the job done.