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Jake Gardiner gives Maple Leafs overtime win

Defeats Jets with 2:29 left; Patrik Laine scores 30th goal for Winnipeg

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Jake Gardiner scored with 2:29 remaining in overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday.

"It was a huge game for us," Gardiner said. "I think having a deficit early and coming back a few different times showed a lot of maturity in our group. We battled hard tonight."

 

WATCH: All Jets vs. Maple Leafs highlights

 

Leo Komarov scored twice, and Auston Matthews had three assists to reach 52 points.

It was the second and final regular-season game between Matthews and Jets forward Patrik Laine, the top two picks in the 2016 NHL Draft, this season.

"He's meant a lot, he's obviously put Toronto on the map again," Komarov said of Matthews. "He's obviously a great guy and an unbelievable player. You can see that he played in a professional league (in Switzerland) last year, the way he plays and behaves himself and talks to the media. He's a smart guy, it's just nice to see how he plays."

Video: WPG@TOR: Gardiner shows patience, snaps in OT winner

Frederik Andersen made 16 saves for the Maple Leafs (28-20-11), who won their second in a row.

"Early, we were good, Freddie wasn't," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "He made some good saves there down the stretch and we ended up winning the game. Some nights, Freddie picks us up, but tonight we picked him up, so I thought that was positive. It was one of those games where we knew we were going to get our chances if we stuck with it."

Toronto moved into third place in the Atlantic Division, one point ahead of the Boston Bruins.

Toronto tied it 4-4 at 3:30 of the third period when William Nylander put in a rebound off the end boards from a Matthews shot.

"It was right there for us, but we just couldn't hang on to it there in the third," Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. "I think we were running on fumes a little bit, but guys battled hard tonight."

Video: WPG@TOR: Laine hammers home one-timer from the circle

Laine scored twice to reach 30 goals for the Jets (28-29-6). He leads all NHL rookies with 54 points.

"We don't talk to Patrik Laine anymore; we just talk to everybody else and tell them to give him the puck," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. 

Komarov put the Maple Leafs up 1-0 at 1:02 of the first period. Laine one-timed a cross-ice pass from Mark Scheifele at 4:25 to tie it 1-1, and Winnipeg took a 2-1 lead at 10:33 with a power-play goal by Bryan Little, who put a rebound from a Dustin Byfuglien point shot past Andersen at the top of the crease.

Little deflected a Byfuglien point shot past Andersen from the high slot at 19:55 but the goal was disallowed after it was ruled Little touched the puck with a high stick.

Toronto tied it 2-2 at 15:52 of the second period when Nazem Kadri fooled Connor Hellebuyck with a backhand on a partial breakaway for his 25th. Nikolaj Ehlers scored his 20th to give the Jets a 3-2 lead at 17:24 when he tipped a Josh Morrissey point shot.

Komarov scored his second of the game on a power play at 19:28 to tie it 3-3. Laine scored at 19:57 to give Winnipeg a 4-3 lead.

Video: WPG@TOR: Komarov sneaks opening goal past Hellebuyck

 

Goal of the game

Nylander controlled the puck and skated deep into the zone before finding Komarov with a cross-ice pass through the slot for a one-timer.

Video: WPG@TOR: Komarov fires in PPG for second of game

 

Save of the game

Gardiner could not glove down a loose puck, leaving Wheeler with a partial breakaway. Andersen kept his left pad on the ice at 5:40 of the second period to keep the score 2-1.

Video: WPG@TOR: Andersen robs Wheeler with great skate save

 

Highlight of the game

Laine set up in the high slot and took a pass from Scheifele behind the net that he one-timed through traffic to restore Winnipeg's lead.

Video: WPG@TOR: Laine whips home his second of the game

 

Unsung performance of the game

Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak won 14 of 21 faceoffs (67 percent).

 

They said it

"It's a good thing for us. We needed this game. We had a lot (of games) in the beginning where we were up and lost. Now we were down by one goal but we still kept playing, so that's really important." -- Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov

 

"What a special, special talent. He's a good man too, he's a good young kid. He's got lots of room to get stronger. He's strong now, but this guy's got another 10 to 15 pounds to put on his back and legs, and when that happens, he's going to get all of the shots he wants off." -- Jets coach Paul Maurice on Patriik Laine 

 

Need to know

Matthews, 19, became the second teenager in Maple Leafs history to score at least 50 points in a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Ted Kennedy had 54 points (29 gaols, 25 assists) as a 19-year-old in 1944-45 (49 games played). ... Laine became the first rookie in Jets/Atlanta Thrashers history to score 30 goals in a season. Laine is the fifth rookie in the past 25 seasons to score 30 goals in 55 or fewer games played, according to Elias. ... Maple Leafs defenseman Connor Carrick left the game at 9:08 of the first period with an upper-body injury. Babcock said Carrick will likely miss time and defenseman Alexey Marchenko will get an opportunity to play Thursday against the New York Rangers. He has not played since being claimed off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings Feb. 4.

 

What's next

Jets: Host the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 28 (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-N, NHL.TV)

Maple Leafs: Host the New York Rangers on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SNO, MSG, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Gardiner's OT winner lifts Leafs past Jets

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