Nylander, Matthews lead Maple Leafs to 7-4 win over Ducks
TORONTO (AP) — Maybe the Toronto Maple Leafs avoided a serious injury to starting goalie Frederik Andersen.
William Nylander scored twice, including the tiebreaking goal early in the third period, and Toronto defeated the Anaheim Ducks 7-4 on Monday night.
Auston Matthews also had two goals for the Maple Leafs. Mitch Marner, Leo Komarov and Zach Hyman scored one apiece, but Andersen left at 6:15 of the second period with an undisclosed injury after he was struck in the head by Corey Perry’s left skate.
“I think he’s fine. I was just talking to him,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said after the game. “We’ll see what goes on (Tuesday).”
Andersen stopped 25 of 28 shots before being replaced by backup Curtis McElhinney, who improved to 6-4 with 16 saves on 17 shots.
Andersen’s goaltending has helped the Maple Leafs, third in the Atlantic Division, build a 17-point cushion for an Eastern Conference playoff spot. He is 25-15-4 with a .921 save percentage.
“I didn’t think I hit him on the original play, but obviously I did,” Perry said. “I tried to move away.”
Rickard Rakell scored twice for the Ducks, and Perry assisted on all four of their goals. Ryan Getzlaf and Ondrej Kase also scored.
But the Maple Leafs’ high-powered offense proved too much for a Ducks team that couldn’t contain Toronto’s young stars.
“We made some mistakes defensively where we gave them breakaways,” Getzlaf said. “Those are breakdowns that we just can’t have. Those are the things we are doing that are hurting us.”
The scoring outburst was redemption for a Maple Leafs team that struggled against Boston on Saturday in a potential first-round playoff preview. The line of Nylander, Matthews and Hyman combined for five goals and three assists.
“Our line wasn’t happy with our performance last Saturday, so it was a good start for us,” Matthews said.
Nylander scored his second goal of the night on a breakaway. His wrist shot beat goalie Ryan Miller at 3:28 of the third to put Toronto ahead 5-4.
Matthews got his second of the game at 16:49, and Hyman added an empty-net goal at 19:06.
The Maple Leafs opened the scoring 6:32 into the first period when Matthews skated in unabated and wrapped the puck around the net past Miller.
The Ducks responded early in the second. Rakell centered a pass to Getzlaf in front and his shot beat Andersen 43 seconds into the period.
Nylander and Rakell traded goals before Kase scored at 8:23 on the power play to give Anaheim a 3-2 lead.
Toronto answered with a power-play goal of its own. Marner’s snap shot tied it 3-all at 15:28.
Komarov also scored in the second when he tipped Jake Gardiner’s shot past Miller to give Toronto a 4-3 advantage at 17:40.
Rakell scored his second of the game at 2:07 of the third period when he found an opening above McElhinney’s glove to tie it 4-all.
NOTES: Matthews leads Toronto with 25 goals. ... The Maple Leafs loaned defenseman Andreas Borgman to the Toronto Marlies, their minor league affiliate, hours before the game. The rookie earned a spot out of training camp and had been on the Maple Leafs’ roster until Monday. He had three goals and eight assists in 11 games.
Ducks: At the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
Maple Leafs: Host the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night.
More NHL hockey: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey