“I’m just trying to stay consistent, trying to work every night,” said Matthews, who at 527 games is the fastest Toronto player to reach the milestone. “I don’t think tonight was necessarily our best game as a line, but I just thought we stayed patient. Just try to stay with it, get an opportunity on the power play and make good on it.”
Ilya Samsonov stopped 24 shots in the final game for both teams before the All-Star break. He also was in goal for Toronto in the Maple Leafs’ 1-0 home victory over the Jets on Wednesday night.
“He was really good here tonight. Not just battling, but looking confident,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said about Samsonov.
Hometown favorite Ryan Reaves, John Tavares and Simon Benoit, with an empty-net goal, also scored to help Toronto win its third straight and improve to 25-14-8. Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly each had two assists.
Defenseman Dylan Samberg scored his first goal of the season for Winnipeg. Mason Appleton added a late goal, and Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves. The Jets have lost three straight and four of six to fall to 30-12-5.
“I think the best thing is a little mental reset,” Winnipeg captain Adam Lowry said. “I think this is kind of one of the first blocks of adversity we’ve faced this year.”
The Jets scored on their first shot when Samberg beat Samsonov from the point at 4:13. Reaves, playing his first game since Dec. 14, tipped in Noah Gregor‘s shot to tie it with 51 seconds left in the period.
The Maple Leafs got their first power play early in the third, and Tavares tipped in Rielly’s shot at 1:54 for his 13th goal.
Matthews scored from the high slot with 4:32 left. He extended his points streak to six games, with seven goals and three assists during the run.
Tavares had gone a career-high nine games without a point, plus he hadn’t scored in 10 games.
“You just stay with it and know it’s going to come, so obviously nice to get it at a crucial point in the game and to give us the lead,” Tavares said.
Before the game, Keefe told reporters that a broken knuckle will keep forward Calle Jarnkrok out for three to four weeks. The injury occurred Friday in practice when Jarnkrok’s left hand was hit by a shot.
Jarnkrok, 32, has 10 goals and 19 points in 46 games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.