WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP)William Nylander is on a scoring binge, much to his teammates’ delight.
Nylander had two goals and an assist – pushing his goal-scoring streak to five games – as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Winnipeg Jets 6-3 on Thursday night to extend their point streak to nine games.
“He’s finding open spots, the puck is coming to him and he’s not missing,” Toronto forward Mitch Marner said. “So that’s big for our team, it helps us a lot. He’s a big part of this team so it’s good for everyone.”
Kasperi Kapanen had a goal and assist, and Travis Dermott, Pierre Engvall and Marner also scored for the Leafs, who are 8-0-1 during their streak. Frederik Andersen stopped 45 shots.
Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and an assist for Winnipeg, and Patrik Laine also scored.
“We just made a couple of mistakes that cost us a couple of goals, but other than that I think we had some really good chances, put up a lot of shots so we could easily had a couple more but three wasn’t enough tonight,” Laine said.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 12 of 17 shots for the Jets before being replaced by Laurent Brossoit, who made 10 saves on 11 shots in the third period.
The Jets have one win in their last five games (1-3-1) and have lost five straight (0-4-1) at home.
The Leafs led 2-0 after the first period, and each team scored three in the second.
Nylander’s 18th goal of the season at 3:24 of the first period got the Maple Leafs on the scoreboard.
“His linemates have been good around him and he’s been making plays to them and they’ve been making plays to him,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “He’s putting himself in good spots. … He’s feeling it and he’s making good on his chances. It’s been fun to watch him here.”
Jets defenseman Luca Sbisa couldn’t control the puck inside Winnipeg’s blue line and Kapanen was right there to scoop it up and score on Hellebuyck at the nine-minute mark to make it 2-0.
Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said giveaways played a role in the Jets’ loss.
“I think after two (periods) we’re at 12 (giveaways), they’re at 11,” Maurice said. “Whether you trust that stat or not, we forced them into a bunch, they forced us into a bunch. They made more of what we gave them.”
Winnipeg had a power play midway through the opening period, but Andersen stopped Laine three times, including a snapping glove save.
Winnipeg went on the power play early in the second after Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza was sent off for delay of game. Connor used the man advantage to record his team-leading 21st goal of the season with a wrist shot on Andersen’s stick side at 3:45.
Laine tied it 2-2 at 7:44 with a sharp-angled shot from near the goal line.
The Maple Leafs were being outshot 11-0 in the period when Laine notched his 15th goal of the season, but they capitalized on their first two shots of the period.
Dermott poked in a loose puck in the crease at 9:02 and Engvall scored 35 seconds later to make it 4-2.
Scheifele notched his 19th of the season at 12:48 to pull Winnipeg within one again, but Marner fired a one-timer on the power play and the puck bounced off Hellebuyck’s arm into the net to restore Toronto’s two-goal lead.
“We were being sloppy and giving them a lot of easy entries into our zone and easy shots, so once they caught up there we kind of knew what we had to do and I think we came out and played well in the third,” Nylander said.
Nylander scored his second goal of the game at 3:24 of the third when he beat Brossoit from the side of the net.
NOTES: Connor has seven goals in his past five games. … Laine has four goals and three assists in his past six games. … Nylander has six goals and five assists in his five-game point streak.
Maple Leafs: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday to open a three-game homestand.
Jets: At Minnesota to open a four-game trip.
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