Matthews scores NHL-leading 49th goal in Toronto’s 4-2 win over St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS — Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 49th goal of the season and added an assist, sparking the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday.

“It’s pretty nice to watch him,” Matthew Knies said about Matthews. “He’s been a huge leader. He’s a big influence for our whole team. I’m really happy for him.”

Matthews, the top pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, had recorded hat tricks in his two previous games. His go-ahead goal came on a power play in the beginning of the third period. He has scored 14 goals and nine assists on the power play this season.

Knies also scored and William Nylander scored a short-handed goal for the Maple Leafs. Bobby McMann added an empty net goal. Mitchell Marner registered two assists.

Ilya Samsonov registered 19 saves for Toronto.

“I feel good. It’s not about one guy. It’s a team sport,” Samsonov said. “We played smart. We played strong. We did a great job and picked up two points.”

Brandon Saad and Pavel Buchnevich scored for St. Louis. Joel Hofer stopped 25 shots.

Toronto won its fourth game in a row and swept the two-game series between the teams.

“All in all, it was a good road game for us,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “We did enough good things to get the win.”

The Blues have lost three of their last four games.

“We didn’t win a game because we made mistakes that ended up in the back of our net,” Blues interim coach Drew Bannister said.

Matthews scored on a wrist shot from the slot 44 seconds into the third period to snap a 1-1 deadlock. Officials whistled Jordan Kyrou for a high-sticking penalty to set up the power play.

Nylander recorded an unassisted short-handed goal at 7:29. Nylander kept the puck on a 2-on-1 rush for his 29th goal.

“I saw (Pontus) Holmberg driving backside and I decided to shoot it myself,” Nylander said. “I saw the goalie go back and I shot it.”

The Blues added a late goal after pulling their goalie when Buchnevich tipped a shot by Torey Krug and scored at 18:52.

McMann scored at 19:22.

After a scoreless first period in which just 12 total shots were attempted, Toronto scored 22 seconds into the second period on a goal by Knies. Matthews fed Knies, who hit a wrist shot into the upper left corner of the net for his 10th goal.

“I just saw I had some space in the middle there,” Knies said. “Once that opened up, I just wanted to throw it on the net. Luckily, it went for me.”

Saad scored his 15th goal with 1 second left in the power play to even the score to 1-1 at 17:14 of the second period. He hit a wrist shot from the slot after getting the puck from Colton Parayko.

“I just tried getting it off quickly. I think I felt a little pressure on my back,” Saad said. “Parayko made a good play to the middle, I just tried to turn with it and get a shot off.”

UP NEXT:

Maple Leafs: Visit Arizona on Wednesday night.

Blues: Host New York Islanders on Thursday night.

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AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL

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