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game recap

James van Riemsdyk gets hat trick in Maple Leafs win

Line with Mitchell Marner, Tyler Bozak combines for 10 points against Predators

by David Alter / NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- James van Riemsdyk scored his second NHL hat trick and had an assist for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 6-2 win against the Nashville Predators at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday.

Van Riemsdyk had gone eight games without a goal. His line with Mitchell Marner (goal, two assists) and Tyler Bozak (four assists) combined for 11 points for Toronto (7-6-3).

"I think the puck was just following us around as a line," van Riemsdyk said. "I was obviously on the fortunate end of some of those bounces and was able to be opportunistic on the chances."

 

WATCH: All Predators vs. Maple Leafs highlights

 

Van Riemsdyk scored his first when he carried the puck into Nashville's zone. His initial shot was blocked by defenseman Mattias Ekholm, but van Riemsdyk picked up the rebound and beat goalie Marek Mazanec on his glove side for a 2-0 lead at 14:04 of the first period.

Van Riemsdyk scored his second when he went to the net as Tyler Bozak carried the puck along the right-wing boards. Bozak centered the puck to van Riemsdyk, who tapped the pass past Mazanec's right pad for a 3-1 lead at 7:52 of the second period.

Van Riemsdyk scored his third, seventh of the season, by backhanding a shot immediately after Toronto won a faceoff in the Nashville zone for a 5-2 lead 13:38 of the third period.

Video: NSH@TOR: JVR takes down Preds with hat trick

Marner scored 1:04 into the first period for a 1-0 lead against Mazanec, who was starting in place of Pekka Rinne, who is day to day with a lower-body injury.

"You saw on that first one that he was in the goalie's eye and he can't see it too well," Marner said of van Riemsdyk, who created traffic on his goal.

The Predators made it 2-1 when James Neal skated around both Maple Leafs defensemen and parked himself in front of the net. Ryan Johansen passed the puck from the boards and Neal tapped it in past goalie Frederik Andersen at 17:53.

Nashville made it 3-2 at 16:09 of the second period when Colin Wilson found Viktor Arvidsson heading toward the Toronto zone. Arvidsson got the puck and took a snap shot past Andersen's glove.

The Predators (6-6-3) are 1-5-2 on the road.

"We had a lot of talk about our road struggles before the game, and we tried to get off on the right foot about that; obviously we didn't tonight," Johansen said. "That part of the game is frustrating right now."

Leo Komarov (7:18) and William Nylander (15:23) scored third-period goals for Toronto. Nylander ended a goal drought of nine games with his fifth of the season.

Video: NSH@TOR: Komarov bags excellent goal on redirection

"Of course, you want to score every game, and when you don't score for a long period of time, it gets on your mind a little bit," Nylander said.

 

Goal of the game

Van Riemsdyk's first goal was made possible when Bozak found him open and passed the puck to him in the neutral zone.

Video: NSH@TOR: JVR doubles the lead on second chance

 

Save of the game

Marner nearly scored his second at 1:12 of the second period. Bozak had a partial break at the net but wasn't able to get there after a stick check by Predators forward Colin Wilson. Marner shot from the slot, but Mazanec was able to save it with his right pad.

 

Highlight of the game

Van Riemsdyk's second goal was another example of Bozak being able to find his wing going to the net.

Video: NSH@TOR: JVR tips feed in to tally his second goal

 

Unsung moment of the game

With the Maple Leafs leading 1-0, Toronto forward Nazem Kadri delivered a hit on Nashville defenseman Yannick Weber behind the net at 6:25 of the first period. That allowed the Maple Leafs to continue applying pressure and maintain possession.

 

They said it

"There's probably one or two that he would like to have back. Some of those goals were just seeing-eye goals. That first one was a seeing-eye goal that was turned and fired from a hard angle and that ended up getting by. At one point when it was 2-0 and we're trying to climb back in the game, I thought he did some good things and made some good saves to keep it at 2-1. We all take the heat here. It's a loss." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette on the play of goaltender Marek Mazanec

 

Need to know

The four points were an NHL career high for van Riemsdyk. His other hat trick was March 26, 2011 against the New York Islanders while with the Philadelphia Flyers. … Bozak established an NHL career-high with four assists. It was his second four-point game (March 28, 2015 against the Ottawa Senators; three goals, one assist). … Neal has scored in five consecutive games (six goals).

Video: NSH@TOR: Neal, Johansen combine for great goal

 

What's next

Predators: At the Ottawa Senators on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

Maple Leafs: Host the Florida Panthers on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN4, FS-F, NHL.TV)

 

Video: JVR leads the Leafs past the Preds with a hat trick

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