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Recap: Matthews, Samsonov Come up Big as Leafs Take Down Jets*

The Leafs weren’t at their best all game, but some great performances got them through with a 4-1 win

Winnipeg Jets v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Period 1

A minute in and the broadcast is talking about Toronto’s floundering rush game — and then Nylander gets a 2-on-1 with Bunting but Hellebuyck stops it with his head.

McMann makes a big hit in the Jets’* end on the next shift, good to see that physical game start early from the bottom six.

A few back and forth chances early on, and Samsonov makes a couple of big saves, starting with a failed Reilly clearing.

At the other end, McMann gets a chance but Morrissey breaks his stick trying to block it.

Shortly after, Matthews starts a shift with a great chance, but Hellebuyck makes the stop.

The rest of the shift is in the Leafs end, and the Jets* get a few chances, including Ehlers ringing one off the post.

And then at the tail end of the shift, Nylander springs a tired Matthews for a contested breakaway, and he rings it off the post too.

ZAR’s keeping it physical too early on.

Ironically, as much as the broadcast was complaining about the Leafs’ rush play, the Matthews like seems good on the rush so far, but without sustained pressure. Bunting gets a good chance off the rush on their next shift.

Engvall with some slick moves at the point, as his line alongside Sandin-Benn on defence gets some sustained pressure.

Liljegren gets a puck over glass penalty after a solid defensive play to stop a rush by Dubois. Jets* to the powerplay.

Some scrambly play by the Leafs net as a Dubois tuck attempt leads to Samsonov loosing the puck and Holl falling back into the net.

Samsonov et al keep the puck out of the net, though, and the Leafs kill the rest of the PK without any major chances, barring this shot by Connor.

Shortly after the PK, Matthews gets a nice shot off from the slot on a pass from Marner, but Hellebuyck’s there.

A strong pinch from Liljegren here, but Kerfoot fans on it at the blue line. No harm done, though.

Ehlers gets a half-clapper off on a two on one, and it slips past Samsonov but into the corner out of danger.

Dubois gets a penalty after hooking McMann, and the Leafs are off to the powerplay. The Leafs get a somewhat extended 6-on-5, but they can’t gain the zone.

The powerplay gets a lot of near chances, but doesn’t really get any good looks on Hellebuyck. Here’s Nylander apologizing for missing a pass from Matthews:

The Jets* put on the pressure for the last few minutes of the period. They don’t get any major chances, but not a great way to end the period for the Leafs.

After One

Not a great period, to my eye. It’s not as bad as the shot counter looks (16-6 Jets), and the Leafs had some decent chances, but Winnipeg got most of the possession and most of the chances. Samsonov’s been very good, though he’s lost the puck a few times.

On special teams, Winnipeg’s looked a lot better. Leafs didn’t get much on the PP, Jets got a lot, but just couldn’t score. The expected goals (NST) agrees with this assessment, to an extreme degree, as the Jets got 0.9 xG on their PP to the Leafs’ 0.07 on theirs. Yikes.

Onto period two!

Period 2

8 seconds into the period and Matthews dances around Schiefele and snipes five-hole on Hellebuyck. 1-0 Leafs. God Matthews is so good.

Leafs look to have a bit more energy early in the shift after Matthews’ goal, let’s hope they keep it up.

Pretty quickly we’re back to Winnipeg getting most of the zone time.

It doesn’t matter, though, cause we’ve got Matthews. Auston takes it from the neutral zone, gains the Jets’* zone, and then picks up a pass from Bunting and snipes it. 2-0.

The broadcast was just talking about Matthews not getting multi-goal games this season. What a lovely anti-jinx. Just a couple shifts later, Matthews almost gets his third on a very similar play to his second.

Giordano makes a beautiful pokecheck to stop Dubois from getting to the net here.

This period, even without considering the Matthews goals, is looking much better than the first period. Leafs getting a bit of zone time, still getting rush chances, and aren’t allowing the Jets* to have basically any zone time. I’m liking what I’m seeing.

Bunting’s getting into some trouble, as he often does.

Wheeler trips Sandin into Dubois, and the Jets* get a powerplay out of it. Great job refs.

It doesn’t matter, cause Magic Mitch is here with a shorthanded 2-on-1 and a snipe! 3-0!

Not to make point streaks a thing again, but Marner’s apparently got a 20 game home point streak going now?! You learn something new every day.

Ehlers and Connor both get great chances off the side of the net late in the period. After Ehlers’ chance, Connor also got another one, but Samsonov made a beautiful stop.

After Two

Much better period. Even aside from the goals, the Leafs are driving play much better here in my view. The goals also made it a fun period to watch. Woohoo! (Note: Natural Stat Trick disagrees with me, and thinks that the Leafs created very little in this period and actually did worse than last period, though it was better defensively)

On special teams this period, there was just the one penalty, which was a nonsense call, but the Leafs were much better. The Jets* got nothing on their powerplay and Marner got a goal one a 2-on-1.

Period 3

Marner line’s got a bit of jump early in the period.

Leafs get a too much McMann, sorry, too many men penalty early on in the period (no it wasn’t McMann jumping on the ice as the 6th man, but he was on the ice). Winnipeg back to the powerplay.

On the PP, Connor gets some open space after Gio dives to block a shot, but Samsonov makes a nice glove save.

Giordano gets his stick stuck in Dubois’ skate, and the Leafs are off to a 5-on-3 PK.

Kampf misses a potential clear really early on, and the Jets* are really pushing here.

Some really good efforts early on in the 5-on-3, and Samsonov makes a really nice save along with a great stick lift from Benn.

But the PKers can only hold the Jets* off so long, as Connor gets a bullet of a one-timer off. 3-1 Leafs.

The Jets* are really pushing after their PP and the 3-1 goal. Samsonov is playing outstandingly.

Matthews makes a nice block too.

The Leafs are pushing back a little now, as Matthews gets a chance off a great stick in the neutral zone. The next shift, Jarnkrok hits the side of the net.

Engvall gets a break in alone too, but he hits the post. Hellebuyck’s helmet was broken, though, so play would’ve been stopped.

Liljegren takes a puck to the head and goes down. It looks like it hit the top of his head — hopefully he’s okay, but I wouldn’t expect to see him for the rest of the game.

Scheifele was complaining after Liljegren went down, and Bunting was having none of it.

Matthews gets a nice chance for the hattrick off the rush, but Hellebuyck stops it.

The Jets* pull the goalie with 3 minutes left, and after a scramble, Gio gathers the puck and sends it 200 feet for the empty netter. 4-1.

The rest of the clock ticks away pretty quickly and uneventfully. Leafs win 4-1! Hooray!