Maple Leafs extend points streak against Jets
William Nylander grabbed two goals as well as an assist on Thursday night as he helped the Toronto Maple Leafs to beat the Winnipeg Jets 6-3 at Bell MTS Place, extending the Maple Leafs’ points streak to nine matches, while Nylander’s personal points streak now stands at five games.
Toronto went into the game as the favourites with sports betting companies, and they justified that rating with a convincing display, though they were also grateful to goaltender Frederik Andersen, who made 45 saves on the night, to help the Maple Leafs extend their good form to a 10-1-1 record.
For the Jets, Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor both contributed goals and assists, but they were unable to prevent their team from falling to a sixth defeat in their last eight, while goaltender Connor Hellebuyck saved 12 out of 17 shots before being replaced by Laurent Brossoit.
The Jets showed plenty of attacking determination, outshooting the Maple Leafs 23-9 during the second period, and overall they had a 48-28 shot advantage, but they couldn’t make enough of those shots count, and their defeat means that they remain fourth in the NHL Central Division, three points behind the Dallas Stars, having played the same number of games.
Nylander started the scoring for Toronto at 3:24 during the opening period, and then Kasperi Kapanen scored a second on 9:00 to double the lead, before Connor pulled a goal back early in the second period and Patrik Laine levelled the match at 7:44 in the second.
The decisive scoring burst game shortly afterwards, before halfway through the second period, when Travis Dermott and Pierre Engvall both scored within the space of 35 seconds.
Scheifele scored for the Jets to close the gap on 12:48, but a power play gave the Maple Leafs the chance to extend their lead and Mitchell Marner took the chance on 16:52, and the game was finished by Nylander’s second goal, at 8:45 in the third period.
The win means that Toronto remain the main challengers to the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division and have a three-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning, though Tampa Bay have three games in hand over their rivals.
The Maple Leafs will hope to keep up their good form in their next outing, against the New York Islanders on Saturday, while the Jets take on Central Division rivals the Minnesota Wild on the same day.
Words: Stijn Janssen