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DETROIT (AP) — Auston Matthews heard the short list of NHL
greats he joined by scoring nine times in the first five games of the
season.Alex Ovechkin Womens
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, Patrick Marleau, Mario Lemieux and Mike
Bossy are the only other players in league history to pull off the feat.“Nice,”
Matthews said after scoring twice for a league-leading nine goals to help
Toronto beat Detroit 5-3 Thursday night.Matthews is the third player in
franchise history to score in the first five games of a season.“He had a fast
start last year, too, unfortunately he got injured,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock
said. “He’s a big man. He’s really worked hard on his body. He’s worked hard on
his skating and all parts of his game. With and without the puck, he’s
better.”Morgan Rielly had a goal and an assist, giving him 12 points to surpass
Bobby Orr’s strong start during the 1973-74 season. Among defensemen, Rielly
trails only Harry Cameron, who had 15 points in the Toronto Arenas’ first five
games of the 1917-18 season.“I’m not going to address personal stuff,” Rielly
said. “I think it’s more important to move on.”Nick Jensen gave the Red Wings a
1-0 lead midway through the first period and scored a second goal midway through
the third to pull them within a goal.“It’s never as sweet when you get the goals
but you don’t get the win,” he said.Soon after Jensen’s second goal, Matthews
took advantage of a power play by scoring his second goal of the game.Detroit
pulled within a goal again when a review determined Dylan Larkin scored with
6:04 left in the game. The Red Wings pulled Jimmy Howard to add an extra skater,
but Ron Hainsey scored an empty-net goal to seal the win.“I didn’t like the
third,” said Babcock, a former Detroit coach. “We didn’t take care of the puck
as good and we didn’t keep our foot on the gas.”Frederik Andersen made 26 saves
and Mitch Marner had a goal for the Maple Leafs.Howard had 30 stops for the
rebuilding Red Wings, who have lost their first four games for the first time
since the 1980.“Bits and pieces of the game we did some of the good things, but
it wasn’t enough done right,” Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.John
Tavares http://www.newjerseydevilsteamshop.com/authentic-brian-gibbons-jersey ,
the top prize in free agency last summer, had four assists for the Atlantic
Division-leading Maple Leafs, winners of three straight.“It’s great for the all
the guys who are doing some scoring right now,” Babcock said. “It makes you feel
good. In the end, though, it’s about winning. It doesn’t really matter who does
the scoring as long as you find a way to win. It’s an exciting time for our
team, but we’ve got to get a lot better.”NOTES: Matthews joined Sweeney Schriner
(1944-45) and Corb Denneny (1921-22) in team history as the three players who
scored in each of its first five games in a season. … The Red Wings announced
before the game they will retire Hall of Famer Red Kelly’s No. 4 jersey on Feb.
1, 2019, when they host Toronto. Kelly played in Detroit from 1947-60 and for
the Maple Leafs from 1960-67. Toronto retired his jersey two years ago. … Jensen
has scored three of the six goals in his career against Toronto. The defenseman
did not score in 81 games last season and had four the previous season as a
rookie.UP NEXTMaple Leafs: Play at Washington on Saturday night.Red Wings: Play
at Boston on Saturday. BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Forward Victor Olofsson had never
heard of Rasmus Dahlin until encountering the then-16-year-old defenseman during
their first practice together with Frolunda in Sweden two years ago.”He got the
puck on the blue line and I was going toward him, and he just put it between my
legs and went in and scored,” Olofsson when the two were reunited at the Buffalo
Sabres‘ prospect development camp.”I thought it was a fluke at first,” he said.
”But when he did it again and again, it’s not just a fluke.”What Olofsson first
witnessed was put on display during the four-day camp and in front of crowds of
2,000 fans, who turned out daily to catch their first glimpse of the No. 1
player selected in the NHL draft June 22.Dahlin performed as advertised with his
effortless skating ability, and head-up, stick-handling style that made it seem
as if the 18-year-old had the puck on a string.Seemingly trapped behind the net
during a 3-on-3 scrimmage Saturday, Dahlin shifted right and then moved left to
get around one defender Cory
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, before making a nifty deke to avoid another.
There was the goal he scored Wednesday, when Dahlin drove into the slot, leaned
to his right before snapping a shot inside the left post.The play capturing
everyone’s attention was a clean, open-ice check the lean, 6-foot-2, 185-pound
Dahlin delivered in bowling over forward Matej Pekar on Friday.”Oh, yeah, it
just happens sometimes,” Dahlin said with a shrug.Not lost on numerous
observers, was how the hit might have been payback, coming a day after Pekar
caught Dahlin with a high stick.”I think it probably validates what we know how
competitive a kid he is. He certainly doesn’t have a short-term memory,”
assistant general manager Steve Greeley said. ”But that’s one of the attributes
we loved about him.”Pekar never saw Dahlin coming.”I’ve never seen him hit
somebody like that,” Pekar said. ”I thought it was somebody else. But I was
surprised, yeah.”An hour later, the two laughed about what happened over
lunch.Coach Phil Housley was cautious in saying he didn’t want to place too much
emphasis on one play or player during a development camp.And yet, the Hall of
Fame defenseman noted the promise Dahlin brings to a franchise that has finished
last in three of the past five years and is in the midst of a team-worst
seven-year playoff drought.”To get the player we got, it’s really important for
our city and western New York. It gives a little hope that we get a first
overall pick,” Housley said. ”It was a big moment for our franchise.”Dahlin was
wowed by the fan turnout, saying he never had anyone cheer when he previously
scored during practice. He also noted how many fans were already wearing his No.
26 Sabres jersey Jesper
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, which was priced at more than $200 since going
on sale Monday.”I’m super impressed that they even know who I am,” Dahlin said.
”I know they love hockey. And I will try to win hockey games so we can give back
to them.”Sabres co-owner Kim Pegula was struck by the poise Dahlin shows for his
age.She recalled a conversation she had with her husband, Terry Pegula, before
the Sabres first met with Dahlin at the NHL combine in Buffalo in late May.”I
said to Terry, no one says anything bad about him. And I’m like, `There’s got to
be something. He’s got to have a weakness,”’ Pegula told The Associated
Press.”But everyone from his coaches to players who have played with him, all of
them rave about him,” she added.”You can definitely see as a young man playing
in the Swedish men’s league how that experience has really matured him,” Pegula
said. ”You can see the benefits of that as he’s handled the press, as he’s
handled the combine, the world juniors and the draft. So he’s been exceptional
in all those areas.”Dahlin has spent the past two years playing in Sweden’s
Elite League , where he had eight goals and 15 assists in 67 games. In February,
he represented Sweden at the South Korean Winter Games, where he had an assist
in two games.Next step is the NHL, where he is all but assured of a spot on
Buffalo’s roster in October. Dahlin is taking nothing for granted by shrugging
off the accolades directed his way.”Of course it’s fun to hear,” Dahlin said.
”But you have to put in the work, too.”—
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