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Mar 31, 2024 1:26 am

Auston Matthews scores 60th goal as Leafs blank Sabres

Leafs Sabres

Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 60th goal of the season and Ilya Samsonov made 34 saves for his third shutout of the season, leading the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

Matthews, alone by the left side of the crease, tapped in a rebound of a Conor Timmons shot into an open net with 5:37 remaining to increase Toronto’s lead to 3-0. The goal tied his career high and equaled the franchise record he set in 2021-22. Matthews became just the ninth player in NHL history with multiple 60-goal seasons.

John Tavares and Nicholas Robertson also scored and Timmins added two assists for Toronto (42-22-9, 93 points), which maintained a four-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning for third place in the Atlantic Division. Both teams have nine games remaining in the regular season.

It was Samsonov’s 13th career shutout and first since a 1-0 overtime win over Winnipeg on Jan. 24.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 19 saves for Buffalo (35-35-5, 75 points), which is seven points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto took a 1-0 lead at the 4:58 mark of the first period when Tavares snapped a wrist shot from the high slot past Luukkonen’s blocker side and off the left post for his 24th goal of the season.

Buffalo, playing the second game of a back-to-back that began with a 5-2 victory over the visiting New Jersey Devils on Friday, had its best scoring chance of the period a few minutes later but JJ Peterka’s wrist shot caromed off the far post.

The Maple Leafs extended their lead to 2-0 early in the second when Robertson finished an odd-man rush with a wrist shot from the slot past Luukkonen’s blocker side for his 11th goal.

–Field Level Media

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