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Five Takeaways - Leafs at Ducks - 03/03/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 5-2 defeat by the Anaheim Ducks Friday at Honda Center:

by Adam Proteau / MapleLeafs.com

Hyman deflects shot from point

TOR@ANA: Hyman redirects shot from blue line for goal

Nikita Zaitsev fires a point shot towards the net that catches Zach Hyman's glove and redirects past Jonathan Bernier, tying the game at 1

  • 00:57 •

1. Ducks take first lead of the night, but Hyman ends goal drought to even things up before first intermission. The Leafs were playing their second game in as many nights and the final game of a California road swing, but they found themselves in a hole midway through the first period Friday when Ducks centre Rickard Rakell netted his 25th goal of the year at 10:40 to jump ahead 1-0. However, Toronto evened the score before the first intermission thanks to winger Zach Hyman, who deflected defenceman Nikita Zaitsev's shot at 16:15 of the frame for his ninth goal of the season.

Hyman's goal was his first since Feb. 6, and more importantly, it gave the Buds an even slate to start the middle period.

 

Video: TOR@ANA: Kadri buries rebound for power-play goal

2. Kadri puts Toronto ahead early in second, pulls closer to setting new career high in points. Toronto centre Nazem Kadri has been enjoying a career-best season in goal production, and he added to it Friday when he scored his 26th of the year at the 5:53 mark of the second period to put Toronto in front 2-1.

Kadri's goal - a power-play marker - was also his 48th point of the year, leaving him two points shy of equalling his career high of 50 set in the 2013-14 campaign. The 26-year-old's game continues to grow, and with 18 games remaining in the regular season, it's a virtual assurance he'll set a new record in points well before April arrives.

3. Ducks storm back with two goals in the frame, add another early in third. Anaheim are like the Leafs in that both teams aren't assured of a post-season berth and need to make the most of every game, and the Ducks reacted to Kadri's goal with sufficient desperation to surge ahead: winger Jakob Silfverberg made it a 2-2 game at the 9:41 mark of the middle frame, and just 16 seconds later, Rakell beat Leafs goalie Curtis McElhinney for his second of the game to give the home team a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.

The third started much the same way for Anaheim, who got its fourth goal of the game from blueliner Sami Vatanen just 1:19 into the period for a two-goal lead. Given Toronto's scoring woes in their four-game losing streak - they've been limited to two goals or fewer in all four games - a rebound to get to four goals Friday wasn't going to be easy.

4. Leafs outshoot Anaheim in final frame of regulation time, but to no avail. The Buds continued to try and get back within tying distance of the Ducks in the third period and actually outshot the home side 15-9 in the third. But Anaheim goalie Jonathan Bernier stopped every shot he saw in the period and 37 of 39 Toronto shots all night, and when the Leafs pulled MacElhinney for the extra man, winger Patrick Eaves netted his 22nd of the year with 1:14 remaining in regulation to seal the win for the Ducks.

5. Road trip not nearly as successful as Leafs had hoped, so home games this week become that much more crucial. Toronto's road trip ended with a 0-2-1 record, which is far from ideal for any team that has post-season aspirations as the Leafs do. The Leafs have 18 regular-season games remaining to pull out of this funk, and they'll return to Air Canada Centre this week for games against Detroit Tuesday and Philadelphia Thursday. They're then back out on the road for showdowns against Carolina Saturday, Florida Tuesday and Tampa Bay Thursday. All of those contests are winnable for Mike Babcock's crew, but they need more offence and tigher defensive showings in combination if they're to get back on winning side of the ledger.

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