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game recap

Maple Leafs jump into third place in Atlantic

Defeat Blue Jackets, who fail to tie for lead in Metropolitan, NHL

by Craig Merz / Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- The Toronto Maple Leafs moved into third place in the Atlantic Division with a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Wednesday.

Nazem Kadri scored his 30th goal of the season for Toronto (34-23-15), which moved one point ahead of the Boston Bruins. The Maple Leafs are 6-1-1 in their past eight games.

"Coming into a hostile building, it's a great team we're facing in Columbus," Kadri said. "They do a lot of good things well, so we had to play a structured game."


WATCH: All Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets highlights


Joonas Korpisalo made 27 saves for Columbus (47-19-6), which could have tied the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division and NHL with a win. The Blue Jackets, who had won four in a row, are third in the division, one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. Columbus plays at Washington on Thursday.

William Nylander gave Toronto a 3-2 lead at 13:23 of the second period with a breakaway goal.

"We can't let him get behind us when it's 2-2," Columbus coach John Tortorella said. "That one hurt. We needed to at least go into the third period even."

The goal came after Columbus scored twice in the second to tie the score.

Video: TOR@CBJ: Matthews nets PPG, Nylander ties club record

"It's a great answer by us to come back with a push of our own," Maple Leafs center Brian Boyle said. "We didn't expect them to lay down for us."

Kadri, Nylander, Leo Komarov and Nikita Zaitsev each had a goal and an assist for Toronto. Frederik Andersen made 32 saves.

Kadri made it 4-2 with 4:14 left in the third period, and Zaitsev scored into an empty net with 2:47 remaining. 

Komarov (at 8:55) and Auston Matthews (10:54) gave Toronto a 2-0 lead in the first period. David Savard (at 43 seconds) and Brandon Saad (6:58) scored to tie it 2-2 in the second period.

The Maple Leafs killed a five-minute penalty to Roman Polak for boarding Oliver Bjorkstrand 1:00 into the third period. Columbus had one shot on the power play.

Video: TOR@CBJ: Kadri buries rebound to extend lead


Goal of the game

Nylander fell down at center ice, got a pass from Tyler Bozak, and accelerated away from everyone before snapping a shot top shelf.

Video: TOR@CBJ: Nylander recovers to snipe top-shelf beauty


Save of the game

The Columbus shot during the five-minute power play was by Jack Johnson from the top of the left circle. It traveled through traffic but Andersen was able to stop it.


Unsung performance of the game

The Maple Leafs did not have anyone serve Polak's major and there was no stoppage during the penalty kill to put someone in the box. When the kill ended, Toronto played shorthanded for another 1:54 until Boyle shot the puck into the Columbus bench for a whistle. 

"It's frustrating because you want to throw somebody out there. It's our mistake," Kadri said.


Highlight of the game

Brandon Dubinsky set up Savard's goal in the second period with a pass from below the goal line.

Video: TOR@CBJ: Savard hammers a one-timer past Andersen


They said it

"That will never happen in my lifetime again. I can tell you that. I'll never wait to put a guy in." -- Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on not having a player serve Roman Polak's major penalty


"That's one of the better teams we faced in a while. We weren't ready and it cost us. It's disappointing. We battle back into the game and they get a weird third one where the guy's cheating and then scores." -- Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno


Need to know

Bjorkstrand did not return after the Polak hit. There was no update on his condition after the game. … Bozak, with an assist on the Nylander goal, has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in the past 10 games. … Foligno left the game at 4:26 of the first period after hitting the end boards. He returned after missing 3:03 of game time. ... Nylander has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in a nine-game point streak that tied the Maple Leafs rookie record, held by Gus Bodnar (1943), Bob Nevin (1960) and Dan Daoust (1983). Nylander's assist was his 24th power-play point, one shy of Daoust's rookie record set in 1982-83, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.


What's next

Maple Leafs: Host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; SNO, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Blue Jackets: At the Washington Capitals on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CSN-DC, FS-O, NHL.TV)


Video: Nylander, Kadri power Leafs to 5-2 victory

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