Wild Play Hard But Come up Short Again
TORONTO (AP) — Frederik Andersen made 35 saves to help the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Wednesday night.
Nazem Kadri, Patrick Marleau, Connor Carrick and Connor Brown scored for Toronto. Playing with star center Auston Matthews out day to day with an upper-body injury, Toronto improved to 10-7-0.
Jason Zucker scored twice for Minnesota, and Devan Dubnyk stopped 15 shots. The Wild have lost three in a row to fall to 5-7-2.
Toronto coach Mike Babcock shifted Marleau to the middle with Matthews out. Matthews was scratched for the first time since being drafted in 2016, playing in 98 straight games including all 82 last year in his Calder Trophy winning campaign.
Toronto went the first 8:49 without a shot on net despite having a power-play opportunity only two minutes into the contest.
Kadri finally opened the scoring when a lucky bounce or two benefited Toronto at 12:56 of the first. Morgan Rielly's point shot missed the net, but the puck ricocheted off the end boards back out front and hit Dubnyk in the leg before caroming into the net. It was announced as Rielly's goal, but replays showed Kadri got a piece of Rielly's shot with his stick and he was eventually credited with his ninth goal of the season.
Zucker tied it for Minnesota with 1:45 to play in the first, banging in a rebound from the top of the crease on a play that started with Toronto turning the puck over behind its net.
Marleau restored the lead for Toronto with his sixth of the season 3:47 into the second. He took a pass from Zach Hyman and beat Dubnyk five-hole from between the faceoff circles.
Andersen was solid for Toronto in the second, most notably when the Leafs took three straight minor penalties, including two tripping calls on defenseman Andreas Borgman.
First, he made a big save on Matt Cullen with his right pad to keep it tied before the Leafs rushed the puck up the ice for their second goal. Then he robbed Tyler Ennis from in close after a turnover midway through the frame to hold the lead.
Carrick gave the Leafs some breathing room 3:40 into the third period with his first of the year when his point shot deflected past Dubnyk for a 3-1 lead. Matt Martin was originally credited with the goal.
The Leafs caught a break with 9:37 to play in regulation when Andersen appeared to tweak his right arm and was in discomfort, but he stayed in the game after taking a TV timeout to speak with the training staff at the bench.
Carrick took a roughing penalty and Zucker scored his second of the night while on a power play with 4:59 to go on a similar play as his first goal by banging home a rebound from the top of the crease.
Brown scored an empty-netter with 30 seconds to play.
NOTES: A moment of silence and video tribute was held for Roy Halladay, the former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher who died Tuesday when his private plane crashed. He was 40.
Wild: At Montreal on Thursday night.