The Maple Leafs scored six straight goals Wednesday night to earn a third straight win with a 6-2 victory over Edmonton.
LEAFS GIVE UP FIRST GOAL MIDWAY THROUGH FIRST FRAME, BUT MARLEAU EVENS SCORE BEFORE INTERMISSION
The Maple Leafs were playing their first of two games in as many nights in Wednesday's showdown against the Edmonton Oilers and star centre Connor McDavid. The game was the last of Toronto's four-game home stand - in which the Buds have won two games in a row - and the Buds again had problems producing the first goal of the game, allowing the visitors' Leon Draisaitl to score his 39th goal of the season on the power play at 11:06 of the first period.
However, as also has been the case of late, the Leafs showed terrific resilience after falling behind: winger Patrick Marleau got Toronto on the scoreboard and made it a 1-1 tie at 18:02 of the opening frame when he scored his 14th goal of the year:
Video: EDM@TOR: Marleau backhands rebound past Koskinen
Marleau's goal was key, as the Oilers outshot the Leafs 16-10 in the period, and Marleau pulled his team even as they were set to head into the dressing room for the first intermission.
LEAFS OWN SECOND PERIOD, PUT UP FOUR GOALS TO TAKE COMMANDING ADVANTAGE
The Leafs reversed the results on the shot counter in the second period, outworking the Oilers and getting rewarded for it time and again. Well, it was four times they were rewarded, to be precise, as they took a 5-1 lead into the final regulation period.
Toronto's first goal of the middle frame, and the game-winner/go-ahead goal, came just 1:09 into the second, with winger Mitch Marner tipping a pass from winger Zach Hyman past Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen for Marner's 22nd goal of the season:
Video: EDM@TOR: Marner deflects Hyman's pass into the net
Only 1:17 after Marner put Toronto ahead for the first time Wednesday, winger Andreas Johnsson continued his hot streak, scoring his 18th goal of the year to make it 3-1 for the Buds:
Video: EDM@TOR: Johnsson pots Kapanen's pretty feed
The goal was Johnsson's eighth - and his 13th point - in his past 11 games. But it was only the second in Toronto's four-goal explosion, and only the second of three goals in a 4:50 span of the second. The final goal in that stretch was scored by forward William Nylander, who beat Koskinen for his fifth of the season:
Video: EDM@TOR: Nylander nets PPG from tough angle
The Oilers changed goalies after Nylander's goal - replacing Koskinen with backup Anthony Stolarz - but it took only another 3:19 before Toronto increased its lead. And they got that fifth goal of the game from Johnsson, who produced his second of the night by scoring on the power play at 8:09:
Video: EDM@TOR: Johnsson pots PPG for his second of the game
That was the final goal scored in the second, and the Leafs entered the third frame with a commanding 5-1 advantage. Toronto's ability to pile up offence in a hurry was on display yet again in this period, thoroughly exposing holes in the Oilers' defensive strategy and making the most of their opportunities.
BUDS CONTINUE OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION IN THIRD, LOCK UP THIRD CONSECUTIVE VICTORY
Toronto's offensive production continued in the third, with centre John Tavares capitalizing on a 5-on-3 Leafs power play to start the period and scoring his team-leading 36th goal of the year at the 25-second mark of the frame:
Video: EDM@TOR: Tavares blasts one-timer for PPG
Edmonton got a late goal from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to cut Toronto's lead to four goals, but that was the end of the offence for either side, and Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen turned aside 34 of 36 Oilers shots as the Leafs earned their 81st and 82nd standings points of the year and improved their record to 39-20-4 with the win.
Toronto now leaves immediately for Long Island, N.Y. to take on the Islanders Thursday. A win there would give the Buds four straight wins, and a chance to equal a season-best five wins in a row with a victory over the Buffalo Sabres Saturday at Scotiabank Arena. The Leafs then head out on a three-game, Canadian west coast trip after that, so it's crucial they accumulate as many standings points as possible in these next few games.