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game recap

Matthews, Tavares, Nylander help Maple Leafs stay hot, defeat Wild

Each has goal, assist; Toronto gets seventh win in eight games

by Jessi Pierce / Independent Correspondent

Matthews' power-play goal

TOR@MIN: Matthews pots Nylander's pass on power play

William Nylander makes a pinpoint pass through traffic to Auston Matthews, who fires it into the net for a power-play goal

  • 00:50 •

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Toronto Maple Leafs got their seventh win in eight games, 4-1 against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

Auston Matthews, John Tavares and William Nylander each had a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs (22-14-5), who are 7-0-1 during an eight-game point streak. Frederik Andersen made 26 saves and became the first NHL goalie to reach 20 wins this season (20-8-4).

"Probably wasn't the prettiest [win]," Tavares said. "I don't think we made as many plays as we're capable of, but it was just one of those games where it felt like pingpong, especially early, and we were just able to capitalize on some good opportunities and play with the lead pretty well."


[WATCH: All Maple Leafs vs. Wild highlights]


Ryan Suter scored, and Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves for the Wild (19-17-5), who lost consecutive home games for the first time this season.

Video: TOR@MIN: Dubnyk lays out to deny Kapanen on the rush

"[It's] disheartening," Wild forward Zach Parise said. "We played a good game in Colorado (in a 6-4 win Thursday) and responded with a couple duds back here. It's not ideal."

Tavares fed Alexander Kerfoot for a one-timer from the left face-off circle that gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead at 5:55 of the first period.

Nylander put in a loose puck in front with 31 seconds left in the period for a 2-0 lead.

Video: TOR@MIN: Nylander cleans up down low to double lead

Matthews one-timed a pass from Nylander on the power play for a 3-0 lead at 8:34 of the second. It was Matthews' 27th goal, the second-most in the NHL this season. He has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in his past seven games.

"[Tavares and Nylander] are just good hockey players," Kerfoot said. "I think you put anyone on their wing, and they're going to have success. They spend a lot of time in the [offensive] zone, so it's just trying to read off them and make plays. They find space and they make good things happen."

Suter scored a power-play goal from the point through traffic to cut it to 3-1 at 11:46.

Video: TOR@MIN: Suter wires a wrister by Andersen for PPG

Tavares scored into an empty net with 25 seconds remaining for the 4-1 final.

"Things are building, confidence is getting better," Tavares said. "I think we're starting to have a really good feel of the way we want to play. We can still be better, but certainly I think the things [coach Brendan Keefe] implemented has really translated well with the skillset of our team, the type of players we have and his message.

"We responded to this point, [but there's] a lot of hockey left. We've got to keep building from here."

Video: TOR@MIN: Kerfoot buries Tavares' dish for 100th point

Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said, "It's maddening, quite frankly. I think [the Maple Leafs are] on a really good roll, but I think if you do the right things they're a beatable team. Until we started to get some emotion in the game, it took them to be up 3-0 for us to get emotional and physical on a nonphysical team, we didn't have much."


They said it

"I thought we made some good adjustments and definitely played a really solid game. I think we got the lead and [the 
Wild] had to force some stuff to get back into it, so I think we did a better job of not playing into their hand and forcing too much. Make them come to us, and I thought we did a good job." -- Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen

"I was pretty mad after the first period, but you have three days now to build them up and it doesn't get easier. You get Winnipeg, Calgary, Calgary I think (the next three games). But we're at least in our own conference that if you win you do see progress in there. Hopefully we just bounce back and win 25 games in the new year, and we'll be right there." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau


Need to know

Nylander has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in his past seven games and has scored a goal in each of his past four. … Toronto forward Mitchell Marner had an assist, giving him 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in his past 11 games. … Wild center Mikko Koivu had an assist, won 10-of-18 face-offs (56 percent) and played 14:47 in his return after missing 12 games with a lower-body injury. … Suter has three points (two goals, one assist) in a three-game point streak and 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past 10 games.


What's next

Maple Leafs: At the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, TSN4, NHL.TV)

Wild: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday (2 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, TSN3, NHL.TV)

Video: Nylander, Tavares propel Maple Leafs past Wild

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