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Blue Jackets end Maple Leafs' home streak

by Joe Yerdon

TORONTO -- The Columbus Blue Jackets simply have the Toronto Maple Leafs number this season.

Artem Anisimov's goal at 12:38 of the second period proved to be the game-winner in the Blue Jackets' 2-1 victory against the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Monday night.

Anisimov shook off a hit from Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson, got up and received a pass from defenseman Nikita Nikitin to snap a wrist shot past Toronto goalie James Reimer for his 16th goal of the season.

It also extended Anisimov's goal streak to three games.

"That's what you want to see," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said of Anisimov. "He's a guy that I trust because he's smart. He's responsible. It's nice because there's talent there too, there's skill. It's nice to see him finish and score a goal, but also create and generate some opportunities."

The Blue Jackets won all three games against the Maple Leafs this season and snapped Toronto's seven-game home win streak and extended their winless streak to three games.

Reimer stopped 31 shots in the loss. The start was his first since Jan. 25.

"This one was a weird one," Reimer said. "Besides an injury, I don't know if I've ever had this much time in between starts. With the Olympic break and being away from the game, it honestly feels like almost a second season. It doesn't feel like five weeks between games, it felt like the start of a new season."

The Maple Leafs nearly got on the board first when Phil Kessel fired a shot that got through Blue Jackets Sergei Bobrovsky at 9:15 of the first period.

The puck came loose through Bobrovsky (28 saves) and sat on the goal line before it was swept away by Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen. The play was reviewed by the NHL and video replay confirmed the puck did not cross the line.

"A lot of the momentum that was generated [by the Maple Leafs], a lot of it was power play or it was the one line, it was the Kessel and [James] van Riemsdyk line." Richards said. "I think we got back to getting it in deep. We changed a couple things in the neutral zone so we could generate some speed and get in on the forecheck. I think that helped."

The second period saw the game turn in the Blue Jackets' favor.

Columbus defenseman Dalton Prout put Columbus ahead with his first goal of the season at 9:44 of the second period. Prout let a slap shot loose from just inside the blue line and beat Reimer, who was screened by forward Mark Letestu.

"I had all kinds of time and I just figured I had to get it on net," Prout said. "There was a really good screen and it found its way through."

The goal was Prout's second of his career and first since April 18, 2013 against the Los Angeles Kings.

Anisimov's goal made it 2-0 and the Blue Jackets outshot the Maple Leafs 12-5 in the second. The fans at Air Canada Centre booed the home team off the ice at the end of the period.

"That's a good sign when you're on the road," Richards said. "It's not pleasant when you're at home. We've all been in that position, but when you're on the road and you hear the boos come out, you know you're doing the things you need to do."

Mason Raymond got the Maple Leafs within one at 15:45 of the third period. Joffrey Lupul dropped a pass to Raymond, who let a slap shot fly from the faceoff circle that beat Bobrovsky up high for his 17th goal of the season. Despite a flurry of chances at the end of the game, the Maple Leafs couldn't come up with the tying goal.

"He's sick," Johansen said of Bobrovsky. "That guy there, he's always there for us. He's always keeping us in games."

Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray left the game after the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return.

"I don't sense that it's serious," Richards said. "It might be something that keeps him out."

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