TORONTO (AP)Auston Matthews had his first hat trick since scoring four times in his NHL debut and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the New Jersey Devils 7-4 on Tuesday night.
John Tavares scored as part of a three-point night for the Leafs and Rasmus Sandin had two assists in his first game since getting called up from the minors to help reinforce the injury-riddled defense corps. William Nylander and Zach Hyman each had a goal and an assist, and Frederik Gauthier had the other goal for Toronto (25-16-6), which entered winless over its previous three games. Mitch Marner chipped in with two assists.
Frederik Andersen made 24 saves for the Leafs after getting pulled in two of the past three outings.
Blake Coleman, with his first-career hat trick, and P.K. Subban scored for New Jersey (17-22-7), while Will Butcher had three assists.
Louis Domingue allowed five goals on 19 shots before getting yanked midway through the second period. Veteran backup Cory Schneider, who was just recalled from the American Hockey League, came on in relief and finished with 13 saves.
Tavares opened the scoring when he tipped in a shot by Sandin for his 18th goal of the season at 5:18 of the first period.
Toronto made it 2-0 at 9:10 after Jason Spezza won a battle behind the New Jersey net. The puck eventually found its way to Gauthier, and he wheeled in front before firing his sixth shortside on Domingue.
The Leafs then connected on their second power play of the evening in the last seconds of the period when Hyman tipped in his 12th off another point shot from Sandin as he was being cross-checked in front.
Nylander finished off a sweet feed from Pierre Engvall at the lip of the crease for his 20th at 2:12 of the second to snap a four-game goal drought and boost the lead to 4-0.
Andersen, who entered with a shaky .880 save percentage over his previous eight appearances, made a nice stop on a New Jersey power play later in the period before Coleman muscled his way through to score his 16th at 6:56.
Toronto, which had given up 17 goals against over a 0-2-1 stretch coming into Tuesday, got that one back on another man advantage at 10:39 when Matthews, who made his NHL debut in October 2016, redirected a nice pass from Marner for his 32nd to make it 5-1.
Schneider, who spent nearly two months in the AHL, steadied things for a time in New Jersey’s crease, but a wide-open Matthews buried his 33rd on a one-timer off a Marner pass at 3:58.
Coleman scored his second of the game with eight minutes left and completed his first-career hat trick at 15:36 to give the winger 18 goals on the season.
Subban scored his sixth on a 6-on-3 power play with Schneider on the bench for an extra attacker with 1:58 left.
Matthews completed the hat trick with 80 seconds left when he scored into an empty net.
Notes: Toronto’s Jake Muzzin, who broke a foot blocking a shot in New Jersey on Dec. 27, could resume skating on Wednesday. … Sandin was named the best defenseman and a tournament all-star at the world juniors. … Spezza became the 196th player in NHL history to play 1,100 regular-season games. … The Leafs also recalled defenseman and 2017 first-round pick Timothy Liljegren from the AHL.
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