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Nylander, van Riemsdyk score early, Maple Leafs beat Rangers

January 14, 2017
Toronto Maple Leafs center Leo Komarov (47) leaps as a teammate shoots against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

NEW YORK (AP) — William Nylander and James van Riemsdyk scored in the first period, Frederik Andersen stopped 34 shots and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the New York Rangers 4-2 on Friday night.

Connor Brown and Connor Carrick also scored to help the Maple Leafs win for the seventh time in nine games (7-1-1). Toronto moved four points behind Philadelphia for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Tyler Bozak and Mitch Marner had two assists each.

Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 23 saves. New York had won five of six overall, and four in row against Toronto.

Toronto, which came in sixth in the league on the power play at 22 percent, were 2 for 4 and held the Rangers to 0 for 6.

Both teams were playing for the first time since last Saturday. The Rangers were coming off a 5-4 win at Columbus, and the Maple Leafs lost 5-3 at home to Montreal.

Trailing 3-1 after two periods, the Rangers pressed in the third, outshooting the Maple Leafs 14-7.

With Kevin Klein off for slashing, Carrick gave the Maple Leafs a 4-1 lead with 6:40 left, knocking in the rebound of a shot by Bozak for his second of the season.

Miller pulled the Rangers within two again, scoring his 13th off a pass from Pavel Buchnevich with 1:25 remaining.

Kreider gave New York a 2-1 lead at 9:05 of the second. During a scramble in front of Toronto’s goal, Kreider was down on the ice as he tried to swipe the puck in from the right side. The attempt was stopped by Andersen, but the puck came back to Kreider, who turned and was still down on one knee as he backhanded it in for his team-leading 17th.

Brown restored the Maple Leafs’ two-goal lead as he fired a long shot from beyond the left faceoff circle that deflected in off the back end of the stick of Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. It was Brown’s 10th goal and gave rookie Auston Mathews his team-leading 36th point.

Nylander got Toronto on the scoreboard 4:49 into the game, taking a pass from Nazem Kadri, skating into the right faceoff circle and firing a shot from the dot through Lundqivst’s five-hole for his ninth.

The Maple Leafs doubled their lead with 2:32 left in the opening period. With about 9 seconds remaining on a hooking penalty on the Rangers’ Brandon Pirri, van Riemsdyk got a pass from Marner in front, moved the puck to his left and sent it through the five-hole of Lundqvist down on his knees for his 15th.

NOTES: The Rangers honored former New York police detective Steven McDonald, who was paralyzed after being shot in 1986 and passed away earlier this week. His funeral was earlier Friday and his widow, Patti, and son Conor, an NYPD sergeant, were joined on the ice before the game by former Rangers greats Mark Messier and Adam Graves for the ceremonial puck drop. McDonald was also honored with a video tribute about eight minutes into the game. ... This was the 90th anniversary of the first time the Rangers hosted the Maple Leafs franchise — then known as the Toronto St. Patricks. The teams tied 1-1 at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 13, 1927. ... The teams play two more times — both at Toronto — next Thursday and Feb. 23. ... LW Rick Nash and LW Buchnevich were back in the Rangers’ lineup. Nash missed eight games with a groin injury. Buchnevich played for the first time since Nov. 12 at Calgary. After recovering from a back injury, he was assigned to Hartford of the AHL on Jan. 6 and had a goal and an assist in three games for the Wolf Pack before being called up on Thursday.

UP NEXT

Maple Leafs: At Ottawa on Saturday night before returning to Toronto for a four-game homestand.

Rangers: At Montreal on Saturday night.

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Follow Vin Cherwoo at www.twitter.com/VinCherwooAP

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This story has been corrected to van Riemsdyk scoring in first period, sted Brown in 1st paragraph.