TORONTO (AP) — Auston Matthews scored his NHL-leading 21st goal of the season 59 seconds into overtime and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 on Thursday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
“Elite talent,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “He’s a star. That’s what they do.”
At the end of a long, frantic shift to start an extra period where the Maple Leafs were scrambling to hold on after Morgan Rielly broke his stick, Matthews took a pass from the defenseman heading the other way before selling shot and roofing a backhand on the stellar Connor Hellebuyck.
“There was a lot of chaos … it happened so fast,” Matthews said. “We’d been out there for a while, they’d been out there for a while.”
Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Ilya Mikheyev scored in regulation to help Toronto regain the overall NHL lead at 19-7-2. Frederik Andersen made 23 saves, and Matthews and Marner each added an assist.
Nikolaj Ehlers had two goals and an assist, and Paul Stastny also scored for the Jets. Hellebuyck made 34 saves.
“We did some good things and we have some things to improve on,” Hellebuyck said. “I stole a lot of goals tonight. “I’m happy with my performance and I’m just looking forward to the next one.”