Tun­ing up: Teen Leafs liv­ing the dream and, ap­par­ently, Livin’ on a Prayer

Toronto Star - - SPORTS -

It’s not likely Aus­ton Matthews and Mitch Marner will be backup singers on Jon Bon Jovi’s next tour.

But the two young Leafs, caught on cam­era singing Bon Jovi’s iconic Livin’ on a Prayer while sit­ting on the bench wait­ing for play to re­sume Satur­day night, cer­tainly caught the leg­endary rocker’s at­ten­tion.

Bon Jovi, whose band once had a ban­ner in the rafters at the Air Canada Cen­tre, tweeted a GIF of Marner and Matthews singing along to the song and re­marked the Leafs duo was “not bad.”

“That was pretty funny,” Matthews said.

Marner “was singing it in my ear, and I was kind of singing it with him. He’s a big fan of that song, he plays it in the car a lot,” added Matthews, who says he has a wide taste in mu­sic, any­thing from “rap to rock and roll.”

That fun at­ti­tude has helped Matthews through a re­cent scor­ing drought. He had an as­sist Satur­day night, just his first point in a fiveg­ame span.

Matthews has been frus­trated with his puck luck, but not wor­ried. He still ranks sec­ond in rookie scor­ing with 11 points, one be­hind team­mate Wil­liam Ny­lan­der, be­fore Mon­day’s games.

“We’re all liv­ing our dream, play­ing in the NHL,” Matthews said of the seven Leaf rook­ies. “You have to en­joy this ex­pe­ri­ence, you talk to the older guys and they tell you it flies by, so en­joy this as much as pos­si­ble.”

The 19-year-old hasn’t tailed off in terms of of­fen­sive chances and shots; he leads all rook­ies with 51 shots and holds a 14-shot edge over James van Riems­dyk for the team lead.

“It’s frus­trat­ing, but I hit a cou­ple of posts (Satur­day night), so you gotta stick with it,” Matthews said. “We’re cre­at­ing chances as a line, it would be dif­fer­ent if we weren’t cre­at­ing those op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Matthews’ line, with Ny­lan­der and Zach Hy­man, led the Leafs with 11 shots on net Satur­day. Mark Zwolinski

Rookie Aus­ton Matthews stayed loose dur­ing a scor­ing drought, join­ing Mitch Marner in song.

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