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Feb 22, 2024 1:03 am

Auston Matthews reaches 50-goal mark as Leafs top Coyotes

Maple Leafs, Coyotes

Auston Matthews scored twice, surpassing the 50-goal mark, as the Toronto Maple Leafs stretched their win streak to a season-best five games with a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday in Tempe, Ariz.

William Nylander also had two goals, while Bobby McMann and John Tavares scored the other Leafs tallies. Mitchell Marner added three assists, and Timothy Liljegren and TJ Brodie each had two assists. Ilya Samsonov made 23 saves for his fifth straight victory.

Matias Maccelli, Barrett Hayton and Dylan Guenther scored for Arizona. Karel Vejmelka stopped 30 shots for the Coyotes, who have dropped 11 straight (0-10-1).

Matthews gave Toronto a 2-0 lead on a power play at 5:01 of the first period, putting a wrist shot past Vejmelka for his 50th of the season. The Leafs center is the fastest U.S.-born player to reach the 50-goal mark (54 games).

The Scottsdale, Ariz., native added his second of the game, giving Toronto a 4-2 lead at 16:07 of the second period, as Marner’s shot deflected off his shoulder and in for his 51st of the season.

Nylander’s second of the night, two minutes into the third, gave Toronto a 5-3 lead.

Toronto took a 6-3 lead at 8:24 of the third as Tavares beat Vejmelka on his high glove side for his 16th goal of the season.

The Coyotes scored twice in a 1:10 span in the second period to cut the Leafs lead to one.

Arizona got on the board at 4:28 of the second period as Maccelli beat Samsonov glove-side for his ninth of the season.

Hayton tipped an Alex Kerfoot point shot past Samsonov for Hayton’s third of the season at 5:38 to make it 3-2.

After Matthews’ second goal of the game, Guenther one-timed a Clayton Keller pass past Samsonov for Guenther’s sixth of the season with seven seconds remaining in the middle frame.

Toronto outshot Arizona 16-6 and led 3-0 after 20 minutes.

The Leafs opened the scoring 1:56 into the first period as McMann redirected a Brodie pass past Vejmelka for McMann’s ninth of the season.

After Matthews doubled the lead, Nylander made it 3-0 on a two-man advantage, tapping in a Marner pass at 15:27.

The Maple Leafs and Coyotes wrap up the season series Feb. 29 in Toronto.

–Field Level Media

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