Fri, 07 May 2021

Mitch Marner, Leafs extend North lead on Jets with win

Field Level Media
23 Apr 2021, 12:05 GMT+10

Mitch Marner scored two goals and added an assist Thursday night as the Toronto Maple Leafs snapped a five-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over the host Winnipeg Jets in a North Division showdown of its top two teams.

Marner's empty-net marker at 19:54 allowed Toronto (29-13-5) to extend its division lead on Winnipeg (27-16-3) to six points with just two regular-season meetings left between the teams. It also gave the Jets their fifth loss in their last seven home matches.

Jack Campbell (12-2-1) recorded 34 saves in earning the win. It was a nice bounce-back effort for Campbell who, when he last faced Winnipeg on April 15, was knocked out after yielding three goals on six shots.

Laurent Brossoit saved 25 of 26 shots in relief of Jets starter Connor Hellebuyck, who was lifted just 11:59 into the game. The loss spoiled a milestone night for center Mark Scheifele, who bagged his 300th career assist.

The first 12 minutes were a defense-optional affair as two explosive teams took turns lighting the lamp. Auston Matthews initiated scoring only 27 seconds into the contest with his 34th goal off Marner's 42nd assist, followed by Wayne Simmonds' seventh marker 51 seconds later.

It didn't take Winnipeg long to respond. Scheifele notched his 18th goal at 3:19, and Andrew Copp tied the game at 10:26 with his 15th tally of the season.

That tie lasted just 93 seconds before Jason Spezza was credited with his 10th goal.

That ended the night for Hellebuyck, who entered with a 2.50 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. Hellebuyck recorded just three saves on six shots before getting hooked for Brossoit.

Things settled down for a while before Marner gave Toronto its second two-goal lead of the night at 12:58 of the second period when he wired a one-timer over Brossoit for his 15th marker of the year.

Winnipeg responded just under five minutes later, Kyle Connor scoring his team-high 22nd goal after captain Blake Wheeler dispossessed Morgan Rielly in the corner and fed an unmarked Connor in the slot.

--Field Level Media

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