Matthews, Samsonov lead Maple Leafs past Jets, 4-1

Jan 19, 2023, 4:51 AM | Updated: 8:27 pm
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) and goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35) celebrate their w...

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) and goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35) celebrate their win over the Winnipeg Jets in an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

              Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35) keeps an eye on the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35) makes a save as Winnipeg Jets left wing Pierre-Luc Dubois (80) and Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl (3) battle for the rebound during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) celebrates his second goal of the game against the Winnipeg Jets during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) celebrates his goal against the Winnipeg Jets with teammates during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35) makes a save as Winnipeg Jets left wing Pierre-Luc Dubois (80) looks for a rebound during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Mitchell Marner (16) celebrates his short-handed goal with teammate Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano (55) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Mitchell Marner (16) shoots past Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey (44) to score a short-handed goalduring the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Mitchell Marner (16) celebrates his short-handed goal with teammates Mark Giordano (55) and David Kampf (64) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares (91) smiles as he is about to take a face off during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)
            
              Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) and goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35) celebrate their win over the Winnipeg Jets in an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Auston Matthews scored twice early in the second period, Ilya Samosonov made 37 saves and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 on Thursday night.

“Sammy was dialed in,” Matthews said. “It’s a big win for us, but the game could have definitely been a lot closer had it not been for him.”

Mitch Marner and Mark Giordano, into the empty net, also scored for Toronto, and Michael Bunting added two assists.

Kyle Connor scored for Winnipeg, and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 23 shots.

The Jets, who entered as the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed, carried much of the play in the first period — outshooting Toronto 16-6 in a period where Samsonov had to be on his toes — but the Maple Leafs had the best chance when Matthews pinged a shot off Hellebuyck’s crossbar on a breakaway.

Last season’s 60-goal man eventually found the range eight seconds into the middle period when he stepped around Mark Scheifele and beat Hellebuyck five-hole off the rush.

The Maple Leafs made it 2-0 less than four minutes later when Winnipeg got caught puck-watching and Bunting found Matthews in front to rip his 24th.

“Probably the game that’s looked closest to him last year in terms of being dangerous, in terms of the way the puck went in the net,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said about Matthews. “He could have had four or five tonight.”

Coming off a 4-1 loss in Montreal on Tuesday night, the Jets went to the power play with less than seven minutes left in the second, but Marner fired his 17th past Hellebuyck on a short-handed 2-on-1 as the winger built on his franchise record by registering at least a point in 20 straight home games.

“Played really well,” Jets coach Rick Bowness said. “The mistakes we made with their best players on the ice were glaring. To me, we gave them the first three goals. You give those guys — Matthews and Marner — those chances, they’re going to score.”

UP NEXT

Jets: At Ottawa on Saturday night.

Maple Leafs: At Montreal on Saturday night.

___

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Matthews, Samsonov lead Maple Leafs past Jets, 4-1