The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 last night. The Jets had a strong start in the first period, but Ilya Samsonov was able to hold the Jets off the scoreboard. In the second period, Auston Matthews took over with two quick goals, which helped the Maple Leafs lock down the win. Mitch Marner also scored a shorthanded goal, and the team had a strong performance overall.
The two heroes of the game were Matthews and Samsonov. However, as brightly as Matthews’ light shined, it was Samsonov who was the biggest difference maker of the game. The team’s fourth goal was an empty-netter by Mark Giordano who fired the puck almost the entire way down the ice into the middle of the wide-open net.
Takeaway One: Auston Matthews Looks Like Last Season’s Version
Auston Matthews scored twice in a 4-1 win over the Jets on Thursday. There was no scoring during the first period; however, coming out of the first intermission Matthews started his dominant performance. He scored just eight seconds into the period; and, he scored again at 3:47 of the same period.
Matthews has been on a hot streak recently, with five goals during his last four games. During an eight-game streak, he’s collected 11 points. Seven of these points have been goals. He has put up points in 20 of his past 22 games since November 26. In those 22 games, he’s scored 15 goals and added 15 assists.
Takeaway Two: Ilya Samsonov Has Second Straight Great Performance
Ilya Samsonov was solid for the second straight game. Last night, he made 37 saves in a 4-1 win over Winnipeg. He put up a solid performance throughout the game, and only allowed a single goal. That goal came on a 5-on-3 power play in the third period.
Although Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe has been alternating between Samsonov and Matt Murray in the crease recently, it might be time for a change in that pattern. If the team is looking for more consistency in goal, it seems that Samsonov is the goalie who has proven most trustworthy.
Does that mean Samsonov will become the goalie who gets the most playing time? Based on his recent performance, that would seem reasonable. He saved Murray’s bacon when he jumped into the game in relief after Murray allowed four goals on only eight shots against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.
Takeaway Three: Mitch Marner Keeps Home Point Streak Going
Mitch Marner scored a beautiful shorthanded goal in the 4-1 win last night. His shot found the net from the left circle on a 2-on-1 in the second period. He was able to beat Jets’ goalie Connor Hellebuyck cleanly.
Marner is now riding a 20-game home point-scoring streak. That’s the longest in Maple Leafs’ franchise history. During that streak, he’s collected 29 points (with eight goals and 21 assists). He also has points in 12 of his last 14 games (with five goals and 13 assists).
Earlier this season, Marner set the franchise record by generating points in 23 straight games. That was the longest streak in seven seasons and the longest in the entire 105-year history of the Maple Leafs. He became just the 12th player in NHL history with a points streak of 23 games.
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