After being held without a goal by the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Auston Matthews is off to a fantastic start to his new season.
The star of the Toronto Maple Leafs became just the fifth player to start a new season with back-to-back hat tricks.
Matthews opened the season with three goals against the Montreal Canadiens — and then scored three more in a 7-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
Yeah, the Leafs scored seven goals on 33 shots against Filip Gustavsson, the same goalie who shut out the Panthers on Thursday night.
The other players to open with consecutive hat tricks: Alex Ovechkin (2017-18), Cy Denneny (1917-18), Joe Malone (1917-18) and Reg Noble (1917-18).
Matthews and the Leafs will be in Sunrise on Thursday for the Panthers’ home opener.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
The Panthers got their first goals of the season on Saturday afternoon — actually, four of them — but their late rally was not enough in a 6-4 loss to the host Winnipeg Jets.
Heck of a day for Evan Rodrigues, eh? Four points off two goals. Not too shabby.
— Of all the newcomers with the Panthers you know who fits right in? Steven Lorentz.
— The Charlotte Checkers lost their season opener on Friday night but Spencer Knight looked real good in his first regular season game since February.
— Oh, but the Checkers bounced back on Saturday thanks to a strong performance in net by Mack Guzda as captain Zac Dalpe played in his 500th AHL game.
— Did you know Matthew Tkachuk, his brother Brady and their mom Chantal made a Hyundai commercial? No? Well, that’s probably because you don’t live in Canada where it is being aired. Regardless, watch it here. It’s pretty good.
— As always, you all had a number of great questions for the FHN Mailbag as we discuss a variety of topics from third jerseys (shocker!), contract extensions, the chances Patrick Kane comes to the Panthers, what happened to Grigori Denisenko and much, much more.
This story is exclusive to FHN subscribers — and you can get $10 off an annual pass by using George10 at checkout.
— It looked like Justin Sourdif was the final cut of the preseason and, technically, he was. But that was more due to salary cap gymnastics than anything else. Regardless, Sourdif deserved a spot on the Panthers to start this season and he has it.
— Plenty of new video on the FHN YouTube Channel including postgame from Paul Maurice, Carter Verhaeghe and Rodrigues.
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NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
Devon Toews is going to get paid by the Colorado Avalanche. Why this contract could age well.
— Connor Bedard was in the spotlight on Hockey Night in Canada, but it was the Montreal Canadiens who got the win.
— The Pittsburgh Penguins score four unanswered goals in the third to drop the Flames.
— Claude Giroux and the Sens beat the Philadelphia Flyers.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
PANTHERS @ NEW JERSEY DEVILS
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Prudential Center, Newark
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM 2;WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- This Season: Panthers @ Devils, Monday; Devils @ Panthers, Jan. 13; Panthers @ Devils, March 5
- Last season: Florida won 2-1
- All-time regular season series: Devils lead 57-35-7, 7 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Home Opener; Thursday vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.