NHL

Reigning Hart Memorial Trophy winner Matthews hails 'special' performance from Leafs goaltender

By Sports Desk December 07, 2022

Goaltender Matt Murray enjoyed his first shutout as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs as he saved all 44 of the Dallas Stars' shots in a strong 4-0 win on Tuesday.

Murray, who spent the past two seasons with the Ottawa Senators, tallied three total shutouts during his time there, and his 44 saves is the most he has had since December 2019 when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

His best stretch of the game came late in the second period, when the Maple Leafs were tasked with killing a five-on-three power play, knocking away five shots in under a minute to protect their 3-0 lead.

Auston Matthews, who won last season's Hart Memorial Trophy winner as league MVP, scored the only unassisted goal of the four, and he made sure to credit his goalie for ensuring it was not a nervous ending.

"I don't know if there's words for [Murray's performance] – that was special," he said. "I thought at the end of the second [period] there, that penalty kill, a lot of credit obviously to 'Murs' for some absolutely incredible saves.

"He made some unbelievable saves, just special."

Matthews also gave credit to Mitchell Marner, who dished an assist to become the fourth active player in the NHL to record a 20-game point streak in their career.

"Echoing what I've been saying for the last two weeks, I guess, but it's been a lot of fun to watch," Matthews said.

"He's been driving the bus for us. He's going to continue to play, and continue to compete for us, and he's been all over it on both sides of the puck. He's a special guy, a special player."

Marner made an effort to deflect the praise away from himself, pointing to his teammates as the key to his success.

"I'm sure like anyone would say, it's not a one-man effort out there," he said. "It's a lot of work from these guys around me, a lot of help from these guys around me.

"It's been a lot of fun in this streak, because we've been winning games as well, but a lot of kudos to these guys around me helping me make plays. I'm just trying to go out there and buzz.

"[Murray was] exceptional. He made some massive saves, especially on that [penalty] kill. Throughout the whole game, just working his bag off, making backdoor plays and saves, it was fun to watch."

With the win, the Maple Leafs now own the third-best record in the Eastern Conference at 16-5-6, while the Dallas Stars remain fourth in the West at 14-7-5.

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