The Maple Leafs ultimately lost in the skills competition last night, but at least they got a consolation point and that’s thanks to the efforts of Auston Matthews. He scored a pair of goals, including one with just 14 seconds remaining in regulation time to tie the contest. His first goal was his 30th of the season, making him the first US-born player to reach the 30-goal milestone in each of his first four NHL campaigns. That’s impressive under any circumstances, but consider that he did it despite missing 20 games in 2017-18 and 14 contests in 2017-18 due to injury. Meanwhile he’s currently on pace for 56 goals this season. He’s truly establishing himself as one of the best goal scorers in the league.
Still, this was the Jets’ win and it was two points that they certainly needed. Winnipeg has improved to 24-16-4, giving them a mere two-point edge in the Wild Card race with one more game played than the Vancouver Canucks, who is the best team among those not currently in a playoff position. We still have plenty of time before the battle for postseason spots kicks off in full force, but it seems fair to believe it will be a tight battle and every point teams like the Jets can secure now will be valuable come March and early April.
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WINNIPEG 4 TORONTO 3 (SO)
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 25 of 28 shots before the shootout. He was beaten twice in four shootout rounds, but that was still good enough for the extra point.
Frederik Andersen kicked out 25 of 28 shots in regulation time. He only managed to stop one of four attempts in the shootout.
Auston Matthews scored a pair of goals for the Maple Leafs. He’s up to 31 markers and 54 points in 45 contests.
Nikolaj Ehlers found the back of the net in the first period. The Jets forward has 18 goals and 35 points in 44 games.
Mark Scheifele also netted a goal for Winnipeg. That gives him 21 goals and 49 points in 44 contests.
PHILADELPHIA 3 WASHINGTON 2
Nicklas Backstrom scored a goal for the Capitals. It was his ninth marker and 34th point in 37 games.
Braden Holtby stopped 24 of 27 Flyers shots. He’s allowed at least three goals in five consecutive contests.
Kevin Hayes accounted for the game-winning marker. He’s up to 13 goals and 25 points in 44 games.
Robert Hagg also found the back of the net for Philadelphia. He has a goal and five points in 25 games.
Carter Hart saved 26 of 28 shots last night. He improved to 14-10-3 with a 2.58 GAA and .906 save percentage in 30 contests.
DALLAS 2 LOS ANGELES 1
Anton Khudobin turned aside 30 of 31 Kings shots. He’s 11-5-1 with a 2.13 GAA and .933 save percentage in 18 games.
Blake Comeau netted the game-winning goal. He has six goals and 10 points in 29 contests.
Dallas’ other goal was scored by Jamie Benn. That gives him 10 goals and 21 points in 43 games.
Anze Kopitar accounted for the Kings’ lone marker. It was his 16th goal and 39th point in 45 games.
Jonathan Quick kicked out 30 of 32 shots on Wednesday.