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Maple Leafs beat Jets 3-2 after Matthews leaves with injury

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) battles for the loose puck with Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Toronto on Saturday, Oct, 27, 2018. Toronto won, 3-2. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) Down two goals and their best player, the Toronto Maple Leafs talked in the second intermission about getting back to what has made them successful early on this season.

That speed and puck pursuit eventually proved to be the difference against a weary opponent.

Jake Gardiner and Kasperi Kapanen scored in a late 26-second span and Maple Leafs overcame the loss of star center Auston Matthews to beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 on Saturday night.

"We hadn't been playing the game we wanted to," said Mitch Marner, who set up Toronto's first two goals. "We knew we needed to get pucks in, we needed to be quicker on our feet. That's when we're at our best."

Matthews left in the second period after injuring his left shoulder absorbing a hit from defenseman Jacob Trouba. Matthews cut to the front of the net with the puck and, as he attempted to shoot on goalie Connor Hellebuyck, Trouba went shoulder-to-shoulder with Matthews.

Leafs coach Mike Babcock said Matthews is set be re-evaluated on Monday and will not play that night against the Calgary Flames.

"It's tough," Marner said. "He's a big part of this team, everyone knows that. Hopefully we get him back soon."

Kapanen scored the go-ahead goal with 2:45 left.

"It got away from us in the third," Trouba said. "They were on us in the defensive zone, they caused the turnovers."

Nazem Kadri also scored and Frederik Andersen made 22 saves to help the Leafs snap a three-game losing streak at home and improve to 8-3-0.

Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele scored for Winnipeg, and Hellebuyck made 28 saves. The Jets dropped to 7-4-1.,

Toronto beat the Jets 4-2 on Wednesday at Bell MTS Place to snap a two-game slide.

"Any time you get a real good team twice in a week and you can get it done, it's positive," Babcock said.

NOTES: The Jets left immediately after the game for Finland, where they will play the Florida Panthers in Helsinki on Thursday and Friday. ... "The Hockey Song" by Stompin' Tom Connors was immortalized in the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame before the game. The iconic sports anthem was performed during the second period by country singer Tim Hicks. ... Matthews leads the Leafs with 10 goals and 16 points.


Jets: Face Florida in Thursday night in Helsinki.

Maple Leafs: Host Calgary on Monday night.


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Updated October 27, 2018

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