NHL Scores: Auston Matthews tricks Leafs to victory; Mike Hoffman scores twice for Blues; and more

auston matthews rocket richard
Apr 10, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Mitchell Marner (16) celebrates with center Auston Matthews (34) after scoring a goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Auston Matthews quest to capture the Rocket Richard trophy for leading goal scorer is going well. In the Maple Leafs 6-5 win over the Senators, he scored goals 29, 30, and 31 on the year plus an assist. He currently leads Connor McDavid by 8 goals.

“It felt really good, it felt really good,” Matthews said. “Those two guys (Mitchell Marner and Alex Galchenyuk) were making plays all night, and I was fortunate to be on the receiving end of a couple nice passes and I just had to put it in the net.”

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Maple Leafs offense get Jack Campbell 11th straight win; Jets shutout Habs

Leafs goalie Jack Campbell made 27 saves and desperately needed every goal Toronto picked up for him on this night. He holds the record for most consecutive wins by a Toronto goalie to start a season at 11. Afterwards Campbell was honest about his performance and appreciative of his teammates.

“Oh I definitely owe the boys a nice Red Lobster dinner, that’s for sure,” Campbell said. “Definitely not what I expect out of myself, but thankfully we have a great team and they carried me tonight. It was a fun game honestly, it’s not fun giving up goals and I expect more out of myself, but Ottawa really came to play. The guys played so well in front of me tonight.”

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The Winnipeg Jets hopped over the Edmonton Oilers for second place in the standings but remain six points back of the Leafs for first after their 4-0 win. Connor Hellebuyck stopped just 19 shots in the blanking of the Canadiens as Nikolaj Ehlers scored his 17th of the season.

In other North action, the Oilers were blanked by Jacob Markstrom’s 17 saves 5-0. Potential trade deadline candidate Johnny Gaudreau picked up his 14th goal of the year in the win. The Oilers struggled in the game as their hearts and minds were with Colby Cave and his family. The league held a ceremony on the anniversary of his untimely passing and McDavid was very outspoken about the impact it had on him and his teammates.

Trade bait Mike Hoffman scores twice in return to Blues lineup

Top trade bait candidate Mike Hoffman returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch in lieu of a deal. He scored twice including the late game-tying tally. Ryan O’Reilly fresh off a hat-trick the last game won it for St. Louis in OT as they downed the Minnesota Wild 3-2. The victory puts the Blues in the thick of the playoff hunt as they reclaim 4th place by one point over Arizona.

“It’s the NHL,” Hoffman said. “It’s part of the business that we work in. Those are the things that happen throughout a season. Sometimes, you’ve got to deal with them.”

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mike hoffman trade
Apr 10, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing Mike Hoffman (68) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the Minnesota Wild in the third period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports

The Blues forward is still considered available and this performance may have just raised his value on the market. Also the Kings handed the Sharks a 4-2 loss which impacts San Jose’s playoff chances as they fall four points back of the Blues.

Central Division playoff races continue to entertain

The Lightning made the biggest news of the day yesterday as they pulled off a salary cap twisting 3-way trade with the Blue Jackets and Red Wings to land defenseman David Savard. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves in the 3-0 win over the Predators. Tampa moves back into a tie with the Carolina Hurricanes for first place. The Canes picked up a point in a shootout loss to the Red Wings 5-4.

Meanwhile the Panthers lost to the Stars 4-1 and missed a great opportunity to also tie for first place. They currently sit one point behind both Tampa and Carolina. The Blackhawks took advantage of the Preds loss and beat the Blue Jackets 4-3. Chicago is now two points back for the last playoff spot.

Finally the Flyers picked up a host regulation win against the Bruins 3-2. They trail Boston by four points for the final playoff spot in the East. The Bruins still hold two games in hand.