Two teams headed in opposite directions continued on their paths Thursday night.
Toronto got two goals from Clarke MacArthur in his 300th career game and rookie goalie Ben Scrivens stopped 38 shots in his NHL debut as the Maple Leafs, tops in the Northeast Division, rolled over the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Thursday night.
The Leafs improved to 9-3-1 and increased their division lead over Ottawa to five points. Joey Crabb and John-Michael Liles also scored for the Leafs and Joffrey Lupul added two assists. Toronto shelled Columbus starter Steve Mason for four goals on just 11 shots before he was hooked following MacArthur's unassisted slapper at 5:31 of the second period.
"We scored awful easy," Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said of Mason, who was replaced by rookie Allen York. "The other kid had a tough night."
Even Scrivens had sympathy for his Columbus counterpart, who was booed before being replaced as the Jackets fell to 2-10-1, the worst record in the League.
"Everyone has those games where you're just fighting it for whatever reason," the former Cornell star said. "He's a Calder Trophy winner. He's a good goalie. He's proven himself in this League. I'm just happy I was able to get a win."
The 25-year-old Scrivens, Toronto's third-string goalie, got the call because starter James Reimer is injured and backup Jonas Gustavsson played in Wednesday's 5-3 win at New Jersey. He was superb in the opening period, stopping Kris Russell with a blocker save at the doorstep and denying Rick Nash on a point-blank jam shot.
"Anytime you play your first game you want to make a good impression. Hopefully I did that," he said. "You can't do that without a good team playing in front of you. The guys did a good job of blocking some shots out there."
Wilson didn't tell Scrivens about the start until the morning skate.
"When I came down here this morning, I told him," said Wilson. "I told the Monster (Gustavsson) that Ben was going to play (and that) he'd be the backup. I said, 'Don't say anything. We don't need this (media) circus bothering the young kid. He's just got to concentrate on his first game.' And he played a great game."
The Blue Jackets outshot the Maple Leafs 11-4 in the opening period, yet trailed 2-0.
"Their goaltender was better than our goaltender," Columbus coach Scott Arniel said. "Plain and simple. Their guy made a lot of big saves. One end was good and one end wasn't. That's the end of that story."
The Leafs, who are 5-3-1 when scoring first, scored 6:09 into the game on their first shot. Crabb was all alone in the high slot when Lupul found him with a backhand feed that Crabb fired past Mason high on the glove side for his second goal in two games this season.
Columbus dominated play during the rest of the period, but MacArthur made it 2-0 at 19:45 when he carried the puck into the zone and beat Mason from the top of the left circle, below his blocker. The goal, on Toronto's fourth shot, touched off a cascade of boos.
"I wanted him to stay in and battle," Arniel said when asked why he didn't pull Mason after the first period.
The booing only increased when Liles scored 50 seconds into the second period, beating Mason to the left dot, with Kessel providing traffic in front. MacArthur ended Mason's night when he scored on a 2-on-1 break.
Rookie Ryan Johansen scored his third of the season on a tip-in at 11:20, but the Jackets couldn't get another puck past Scrivens.
Columbus was coming off just its second win of the season, a 3-1 victory against Anaheim on Sunday, but was unable to build on it.
"This is a big disappointment," Arniel said. "You win and lose as a team, and it's very frustrating. We built some things over the last few games -- there were some positives that we wanted to continue to move forward with.
"We still had a ton of chances. Whether we made their goaltender look good or he was there to make the big stops, we still scored only one goal on almost 40 shots."