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game recap

Sandin's first NHL goal boosts Maple Leafs past Predators

Rookie defenseman has assist, Andersen makes 34 saves for Toronto

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Sandin's first NHL goal

TOR@NSH: Sandin fires home first NHL goal

Rasmus Sandin finds the loose puck after it rebounds off Pekka Rinne and scores his first NHL goal to put the Maple Leafs up 3-1 in the 2nd

  • 00:52 •

NASHVILLE -- Rasmus Sandin scored his first NHL goal and had an assist for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 5-2 win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Monday.

Frederik Andersen made 34 saves for the Maple Leafs (26-17-7), who won for the first time in three games (1-1-1).

It was the first game for each team since Jan. 18.

 

[WATCH: All Maple Leafs vs. Predators highlights]

 

"It was a good response," said Toronto forward Jason Spezza, who scored his second goal in the past seven games. "Coming out of a break can be difficult games. I thought it was a good match for our team, just coming out and getting a lead. I thought we controlled play for a lot of time. I think there's still things that we can do better, but for the most part we did a lot of good things, and that's why we got rewarded with a win."

The Predators (22-19-7) have lost three of their past four games.

"In the second period, we just got away from it," Nashville coach John Hynes said. "We just got away from the identity that we want to play with. The hardness that we need to play with to be able to win, managing the puck, consistency in the performances throughout the lineup, that was where the game got away from us."

William Nylander gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead at 4:13 of the first period when he scored on a breakaway off a stretch pass from Sandin. Nylander's 23rd goal of the season established a new NHL career high and extended his goal streak to four games.

Video: TOR@NSH: Nylander opens scoring with breakaway goal

Mikael Granlund scored on the rush for the Predators to tie the game 1-1 at 4:53.

Zach Hyman gave the Maple Leafs a 2-1 lead at 7:12 with a shot that went in off defenseman Yannick Weber.

Sandin, a rookie defenseman playing his 10th NHL game, gave Toronto a 3-1 lead at 4:41 of the second on a shot from the left face-off circle.

"I was standing a little bit behind the play, and the puck just popped out," Sandin said. "I saw it at the last second. [Predators goalie Pekka Rinne] was covering the low ice and was leaning forward a little bit, so I just tried to put it high, and luckily it went in."

Spezza made it 4-1 at 12:17 on a wrist shot from the right circle.

"It's great," Andersen said. "We had some good talks and stuff trying to get better at certain things. Like everyone at this time of year, we want to keep pushing and getting better. It was a good first step."

Video: TOR@NSH: Spezza snipes puck home on short side

Viktor Arvidsson got Nashville within 4-2 when he scored at 12:52 of the third period.

Auston Matthews scored an empty-net goal to make it 5-2 with 1:32 remaining. It was his 35th goal.

"We've got to do it together," Predators captain Roman Josi said. "Every guy in that first shift go out there and try to make a difference. You've got to find a way to change the momentum, and it's got to be that next line every time. Every guy individually has to go out there and make a difference."

Video: TOR@NSH: Arvidsson collects Ekholm rebound for goal

Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin returned to the lineup after missing the previous 10 games because of a broken foot.

"For me personally, it felt pretty good," Muzzin said. "Glad I went down [to the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League] and played a game and got that feel back in me. I felt like my hands felt good out there and was moving the puck well and stuff like that. It was good for me."

Toronto forward Kasperi Kapanen did not play after the first period because of an undisclosed injury. Coach Sheldon Keefe said Kapanen was injured when he missed a check and slammed into the boards.

Video: Clutch Performance: Sandin nets his first career goal

 

They said it

"If we manage the puck a little bit better, we have an even better result. I liked our [offensive] zone play. I thought we created lots and capitalized on some chances. It was a good first game back." -- Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin

"As the game goes on, you want to be able to play the players that are playing at a level that they can do it. We had him on a line match. We switched the line match because we didn't like it. That's just what happens in the game. With players, if they want to play more, they've got to play good." -- Predators coach John Hynes on playing center Ryan Johansen for 10:28

 

Need to know

Nylander scored 22 goals in 2016-17, his first full NHL season. ... Nylander had an assist on Sandin's goal and has seven points (four goals, three assists) during a five-game point streak. ... Johansen's 10:28 was the least ice time for the Predators.

 

What's next

Maple Leafs: At the Dallas Stars on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, FS-SW, NHL.TV)

Predators: At the Washington Capitals on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET: NBCSN)

Video: Andersen leads Maple Leafs past Predators

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