Fighting islanders are camouflaged by glowing maple leaves

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<pre><pre>Fighting islanders are camouflaged by glowing maple leaves

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TORONTO – The struggles of New York's islanders continue.

Michael Hutchinson stopped 33 shots for his first shutout in almost a year and the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Islanders 3-0 on Saturday night to extend their streak of points to 10 games.

Pierre Engvall, Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman scored goals for the Maple Leafs, who were 9-0 in their series.

Semyon Varlamov had 20 saves for the islanders, losing five of their last seven (2-4-1).

Starting goalkeeper Frederik Andersen was the backbone of Toronto's series, with a 6: 0: 1 record and a lead of 0.909, but Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe decided to start Hutchinson instead. The backup delivered with its first shutout since January 5 against Vancouver.

Keefe said before the game that if Hutchinson didn't compete against the islanders, there would likely be no other way to rest Andersen for seven games before the NHL all-star break on January 24.

Auston Matthews celebrates after scoring a goal.
Auston Matthews celebrates after scoring a goal.NHLI via Getty Images

It was Hutchinson's third straight win after a 4-1 win over Detroit on December 21st and a 5-4 extra-time win in New Jersey on December 27th, both part of the Toronto points series.

William Nylander brought the domestic crowd into play with an outlier on Varlamov 4:15. Nylander looked like he had hit the islanders' goalkeeper, but turned the puck too high for Varlamov to knock him off the net.

Hutchinson increased to 16 goals in the second game, but kept New York away from the scoreboard. In the ninth minute of the game, he put on a highlight glove against Josh Bailey, dropped onto the butterfly and snatched the puck out of the air to keep the game goalless.

Toronto made it 6:35 minutes ahead of the scoreboard when Kasperi Kapanen pushed the puck through New York defender Noah Dobson's legs and Engvall returned a pass that went into the slot and was in the perfect position to shoot Varlamov ,

Matthews increased the lead by 2:42 and showed Varlamov when Mitch Marner sent in a long pass that made the Maple Leafs center spin quickly to overtake the islanders' goalkeeper.

The islanders kept pushing – including a 2:50 power game in the second round – but Hutchinson held on.

Hutchinson's impressive start continued at 1:29 in the third period. He blocked a writer from Anders Lee, kicked the rebound with his pad, and then suffocated it with his glove.

The chants of "Hutchy" and "Let's go Hutch!" Rained on Hutchinson from the sections immediately behind him in the lower bowl of the Scotiabank Arena after parrying another smart glove against Noah Dobson at 11:43.

Less than three minutes later, Hutchinson robbed Mathew Barzal, fell on his butt, but snatched a wrist out of the air to keep it locked.

Hyman added a clean sheet with 2:08. After defender Justin Holl got the puck off the board behind Toronto's gate, he went to Matthews, who passed it on to Marner, who in turn found a grazing Hyman.

https://nypost.com/2020/01/04/struggling-islanders-blanked-by-red-hot-maple-leafs/