Aston-Reese’s 2 goals leads Maple Leafs past Hurricanes

Carolina has lost three of four

Hurricanes center Jordan Staal tips the puck wide as he's defended by Maple Leafs center David Kampf in front of goaltender Ilya Samsonov during Toronto’s 5-2 home win Friday. (Cole Burston / The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Zach Aston-Reese scored twice and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 Friday night to snap a two-game skid.

Morgan Rielly had a goal and an assist, and Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews also scored to help Toronto improve to 4-2-1 in its last seven games. John Tavares and Calle Jarnkrok each had two assists and Ilya Samsonov finished with 31 saves to help Toronto increase its lead to three points ahead of third-place Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division.

Martin Necas and Brady Skjei each scored for Carolina in its third loss in four games. Pyotr Kochetkov had 19 saves as the Hurricanes remained one point ahead of second-place New Jersey in the Metropolitan Division.

Aston-Reese got the scoring started as he tipped Erik Gustafsson’s shot from the right point past Kochetkov 2:54 into the game.

Marner made it 2-0 with 7 1/2 minutes left in the first as fired a shot from the right circle off the post and in for his 25th.

Skjei got the Hurricanes on the scoreboard as his shot from the left circle bounced off his glove and over the line with 5:23 remaining in the period.

Tavares fired a shot from the left side that deflected off Matthews’ knee on the right side and in on the power play with 2:22 left in the first to make it 3-1. It was Matthews’ 32nd.

Necas pulled the Hurricanes within one again as he scored from the right circle with 9:15 left in the second. It was his 26th.

Aston-Reese got his second of the night and seventh of the season with 5:01 left in the middle period as he redirected Sam Lafferty’s cross-ice feed from the left side past Kochetkov to make it 4-2.

Rielly scored from the left circle to give Toronto a three-goal lead at 8:56 of the third. It was his fourth.

The Hurricanes have a quick turnaround with a 5 p.m. game Saturday at Philadelphia.