The Leafs held a 2-1 lead heading into the third and despite the one goal advantage, another goal would give them more breathing room. It would also put the struggling Devils' offence in a big hole.
After a great pass from Nazem Kadri, Kristopher Versteeg wired the one-timer past Johan Hedberg to give the Leafs the 3-1 lead. It was Versteeg's third power-play goal in two games and all the insurance they would need in winning their second straight game.
With the injury to J.S. Giguere, it's Jonas Gustavsson's time to shine and against New Jersey he was very solid in picking up his first win since October 13th against Pittsburgh.
Gustavsson was unlucky to allow the Devils goal but he made several big saves in the third period when the Leafs needed it. New Jersey went to the net hard and it forced Gustavsson to play big and stretch out to use his size against the Devils.
Playing in just his third NHL game, Nazem Kadri showed glimpses of what lies ahead for the Maple Leafs.
He made two beautiful assists, one to Phil Kessel the other to Versteeg for his first multi-point game in the NHL. Kadri saw 19:53 of ice-time (one second fewer than Tuesday), with one shot and a plus one rating. The chemistry with Kessel and Tyler Bozak is evident and it is an exciting trio for the Leafs now and maybe in the years to come.
The Leafs did a great job Thursday of getting in the shooting lanes and blocking shots. As a team, the Leafs had 23 blocked shots, with Luke Schenn having seven which is a season high.
It wasn't just the Leafs' blueliners who were getting in the way. Mike Brown blocked a point shot with his stomach when he dove on the ice. The Leafs showed great commitment in sacrificing their bodies, something that they did extremely well at the start of the season.
Ron Wilson on defeating a team below them in the standings:
"Yeah that's important but the most important thing is to get a win. Doesn't matter against who as long as you play as comeplete a game as you can. I thought at the start of the third period we were tentative when we didn't have to be instead of attacking but the last 10 minutes I felt a lot better about our overall game. They had their push but we got a couple of nice saves from Jonas (Gustavsson) and settled it."
Saturday, November 20 @ Montreal 7:00 PM ET (CBC, AM640)
Game Notes: The Leafs and Candiens meet for the second time this season and the first of three times in Montreal.
The Canadiens have been one of the best teams in the NHL this season. They have relied on great goaltending from Carey Price as they had won four straight before being shut out by Nashville on Thursday.