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Leafs explode late to take down Jets

Jan 27, 2024; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets left wing Nikolaj Ehlers (27) is stick checked by Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Simon Benoit (2) in the second period at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

John Tavares scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs went on to defeat the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 Saturday night.

Ryan Reaves, Auston Matthews and Simon Benoit also scored for the Maple Leafs. Morgan Rielly added two assists and Ilya Samsonov stopped 24 shots in the win.

Dylan Samberg and Mason Appleton scored for the Jets while Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves.

The teams completed a home-and-home series. The Maple Leafs won 1-0 in overtime Wednesday in Toronto.

Samberg scored his first goal of the season at 4:13 of the first period on a 50-foot wrist shot from above the left faceoff circle. Kyle Connor set up the chance with a takeaway in the Toronto zone (though the goal was unassisted).

Reaves scored his second goal of the season at 19:11 of the first on a deflection of Noah Gregor’s shot following a Jets turnover.

Toronto had a goal disallowed 29 seconds later because of goaltender interference. Toronto lost its challenge of the call and Reaves served the penalty.

Toronto led 8-7 in shots on goal after one period.

Winnipeg defenseman Brenden Dillon (upper-body injury) left the game in the first period and did not return.

The Maple Leafs were aggressive early in the second period, taking 10 of the first 11 shots on goal, though they failed to score.

The Jets could not take advantage of two consecutive power plays later in the period, with Samsonov making a big save late in the second power play.

Ultimately, the Leafs outshot the Jets 14-12 in the scoreless period.

Tavares scored his 13th goal of the season during a power play at 1:54 of the third period, tipping in Rielly’s shot. Dylan DeMelo was off for tripping.

After an unsuccessful Jets power play, Toronto took a turn on the power play and had a five-on-three advantage 30 seconds later.

At 15:28 of the third, with the two-man advantage, Matthews scored his 40th goal of the season and earned his 600th career point.

Benoit scored his first of the season into an empty net at 18:22 to make it 4-1. The Jets got one back when Appleton scored at 19:48 but not enough time remained for them to get another.

–Field Level Media

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