NHL Roundup: Auston Matthews nets hat trick, Rangers win again, McDavid shows up Crosby, and more

There were six games on the NHL schedule to open the month of December.

The Toronto Maple Leafs overwhelmed the Colorado Avalanche as they sit atop the NHL standings alone with 35 points. Meanwhile, the New York Rangers continue to roll and Connor McDavid shows Sidney Crosby why he’s now the game’s best player.

Let’s recap.

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Maple Leafs 8, Avalanche 3

Auston Matthews scored three goals, John Tavares had a goal and two assists and the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the visiting Colorado Avalanche 8-3 on Wednesday.

The hat trick was the fourth of Matthews’ career. William Nylander had a goal and an assist for Toronto, which has won five straight.

“We were playing a really good team at the other end with a lot of really dangerous players and they were going to get their push and opportunities,” Matthews focused on team play after the game. “At times we gave them a little too much space out there, but I thought defensively we did a pretty good job of keeping them to the outside.”

Jason Spezza, Travis Dermott and Pierre Engvall also scored for the Maple Leafs. Michael Bunting added three assists and Alexander Kerfoot and Mitchell Marner had two assists apiece. Jack Campbell made 28 saves for Toronto.

Nazem Kadri scored twice and Samuel Girard also scored for the Avalanche. Colorado’s Jonas Johansson stopped 33 shots.

Rangers 4, Flyers 1

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Dec 1, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) makes a save against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Kreider scored again to continue his hot start, Igor Shesterkin made 33 saves and host New York continued its roll with a victory over skidding Philadelphia.

Kreider has nine goals in his past 12 games, and he joined Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin as the third player to score more than 15 goals so far this season. The Rangers also got goals from Jacob Trouba, Dryden Hunt and Artemi Panarin, and Igor Shesterkin made 33 saves.

“It’s honestly hard to describe,” Shesterkin said. “It adds a lot of emotion, a lot of strength. It motivates me. The most important thing is to try to not cry right then and there.”

Morgan Frost scored for the Flyers, who dropped their seventh straight game. Philadelphia also lost Joel Farabee to an upper-body injury after he slammed into the boards in the opening period. Carter Hart stopped 24 shots.

Ducks 6, Golden Knights 5

Jamie Drysdale had a goal and an assist and Trevor Zegras and Sonny Milano each had three assists to lead host Anaheim to a wild victory over Vegas.

Troy Terry, Rickard Rakell, Josh Manson, Hampus Lindholm and Isac Lundestrom also scored goals for Anaheim, which won at Los Angeles 5-4 in a shootout the previous night. Ducks goalie Anthony Stolarz finished with 34 saves.

Mattias Janmark and Max Pacioretty each had a goal and an assist and William Carrier, Zach Whitecloud and Reilly Smith also scored goals for Vegas, which took its third loss in four games. Robin Lehner made 28 saves.

Red Wings 4, Kraken 3 (SO)

Adam Erne scored in the fourth round of the shootout to propel host Detroit past Seattle.

Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin, who had two assists in regulation, scored in the second round of the shootout before Joonas Donskoi answered in the third. Erne beat Philipp Grubauer (23 saves) over his glove in the fourth to put pressure on Alex Wennberg, whose bid to extend the session sailed off the mark.

Rookie Lucas Raymond, Robby Fabbri and Vladislav Namestnikov each scored a goal and Moritz Seider notched two assists for the Red Wings, who have won a season-high four in a row. Ryan Donato scored twice and Vince Dunn also tallied for the expansion Kraken, who were thwarted in their bid for the first three-game winning streak in franchise history.

Oilers 5, Penguins 2

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Dec 1, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby (87) and Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) battle for position during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Connor McDavid registered three assists, two on goals by Zach Hyman, and added an empty-netter as Edmonton broke open a tie game in the third period for a victory over visiting Pittsburgh.

With the game tied 2-2 after two periods, Kailer Yamamoto scored 2:53 into the third. Evan Bouchard tapped in McDavid’s pass off a two-on-one a little more than five minutes later to help the Oilers win for the 16th time in 21 games to open the season.

“He’s just so good at creating something from nothing,” Crosby said of McDavid via NHL.com. “There is not a lot a lot of danger going on and all of a sudden he’s on a 2-on-1 or he’s got fast break. It’s a pretty small margin for error, and they get a couple of 2-on-1s and execute them well, and that’s kind of what it came down to.”

Mikko Koskinen made 32 saves for Edmonton. Jake Guentzel and Teddy Blueger scored for the Penguins, who got 17 saves from Tristan Jarry.

Canucks 6, Senators 2

J.T. Miller scored a goal in a three-point game while Quinn Hughes collected four assists to lead visiting Vancouver to a victory over Ottawa.

Luke Schenn collected one goal and one assist, while Tanner Pearson, Tyler Motte, Bo Horvat and Alex Chiasson also scored for the Canucks, who have won two in a row. Goaltender Thatcher Demko made 19 saves.

Adam Gaudette and Brady Tkachuk replied for the Senators, who sit last in the league standings and have lost six straight games. Goalie Filip Gustavsson stopped 29 shots.

–Field Level Media