The Leafs were playing the second game of a six-game road trip Sunday night, and were up against the New York Rangers, a squad that has been far better at home (with a record of 14-9-6) than they've performed on the road (9-14-2).
LEAFS SURRENDER FIRST GOAL, BUT TIE IT ON FIRST-RATE EFFORT FROM KAPANEN
Toronto did itself no favours to begin Saturday's game, giving up the first goal only 28 seconds into the first period.
That said, the Leafs became a possession monster after Mika Zibanejad opened the scoring: Toronto outshot New York 21-4 at one point in the first, and they tied the score at the 10:35 mark on a dazzling individual rush from winger Kasperi Kapanen:
Video: TOR@NYR: Kapanen goes coast to coast for goal
Kapanen's ability to collect the puck in his own end, tear down to the other end of the ice in an instant, and beat the opposition's goalie with a pinpoint-accurate slap shot, has been one of the things that's made him a revelation of sorts this season. His goal Saturday was his 16th (and 32nd point) of the year, and he singlehandedly got them back in the contest with his speed and skill.
RANGERS RETAKE LEAD LATE IN FIRST - AND AFTER SCORELESS SECOND, BLUESHIRTS SECURE WIN WITH THIRD GOAL OF NIGHT
The Blueshirts took advantage of a Leafs defensive breakdown late in the first period, and Jimmy Vesey's 12th goal of the year at 14:05 of the first gave the home team the lead again. And after a second period in which neither side was able to score, the Rangers withstood the Leafs' shot onslaught (Toronto fired a total of 56 shots at Rangers netminder Alexandar Georgiev, but only beat him once) and got their third goal of the night at 11:59 of the third period on Adam McQuaid's second goal of the season, followed by an empty-netter with 19.4 seconds left in the third.
The Buds were unable to light the lamp after Kapanen's goal and lost their first game since a 3-2 overtime loss to Detroit Feb. 1. They'll have a day off to hone their game before taking on the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday, and the Avs are a hungry team in the race for a playoff wild card berth. Certainly, the Leafs will need to produce more offence Tuesday if they're to get back on the winning track.