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game recap

Maple Leafs score seven against Devils to avoid third straight loss

Matthews, Tavares each has goal, assist; Kadri has three assists

by David Satriano / Staff Writer

Tavares caps nice passing play

TOR@NJD: Tavares buries Kadri's feed to open scoring

John Tavares gives the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead off the rush, as he buries a give-and-go from Nazem Kadri in the 1st

  • 00:51 •

NEWARK, N.J. -- Nazem Kadri had three assists for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 7-2 win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Tuesday.

It was the first three-point game for Kadri since he had a hat trick and two assists against the Columbus Blue Jackets last season on Feb. 14 (a 6-3 win).

"For us, we hadn't been getting the results we've wanted to get over the past week, week and a half, and it was about time for us to stand up and I thought we responded well," Kadri said. "I don't gauge whether I play well or not depending on the point system."


[WATCH: All Maple Leafs vs. Devils highlights]


John Tavares and Auston Matthews each had a goal and an assist, Connor Brown tied his NHL career-high with three assists, and Frederik Andersen made 27 saves for Toronto (22-10-2), which avoided losing three straight games for the first time this season.

Sami Vatanen and Nico Hischier scored, and Keith Kinkaid made 16 saves for the Devils (11-14-7) before he was pulled after the second period. Mackenzie Blackwood made eight saves in his NHL debut for New Jersey, which lost for the 12th time in 15 games (3-6-6).

"Our group in here, we can't take nights off," Devils forward Taylor Hall said. "Tonight was not our best. When we don't play our best, unfortunately right now, we're not going to get wins. We have to play very well to get wins and that has to be our focus for the next game."

Tavares gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead at 6:01 of the first period on a 3-on-1 with Kadri and Matthews for his Toronto-leading 21st goal.

Matthews made it 2-0 at 7:58 putting in a loose puck from the crease for his 17th goal. The Devils unsuccessfully challenged for goalie interference.

Video: TOR@NJD: Matthews muscles it home from the crease

"I thought we started good tonight," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "I don't know if we maintained it for 60 but we really started good, came out, got on the cycle and scored some big goals. Good win for our team."

Patrick Marleau scored to give Toronto a 3-0 lead at 13:38 on a rebound. It was his 544th NHL goal, tying Maurice Richard for 30th, and his 106th game-winning goal, which ranks seventh.

"Growing up, I used to always look at all the hockey cards, read all the books and read about the great players, and I think it's pretty cool to be in that same company," Marleau said. "It's always nice when a milestone like that comes with a win."

Video: TOR@NJD: Marleau ties Maurice Richard with 544th goal

Vatanen made it 3-1 on a slap shot from the slot at 18:44 of the first.

Mitchell Marner scored at 1:45 of the second period off a Tavares shot that hit the post to make it 4-1. Morgan Rielly scored with three seconds remaining in the second period for a 5-1 lead.

"They were a lot better than us in the first, the second and third," Devils coach John Hynes said. "Tonight was unacceptable. ... Tonight is not something you can just look past. We have to dig into it and get some answers."

Hischier made it 5-2 at 14:47 of the third period. Tyler Ennis scored at 16:28 to make it 6-2 and again at 18:30 for a 7-2 lead for Toronto, which scored at least four goals for the eighth time in its past 11 games.

"I think our four lines in general, when we get it in (the offensive zone), we play well, anyone can score," Marner said. "We are a deadly lineup like that."

Video: TOR@NJD: Marner jams in the loose puck early in 2nd


They said it

"544 to tie [Maurice Richard], 106 game-winners, not bad. It's incredible, actually, when you think about it." -- Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on Patrick Marleau


"We are all trying our best. Sometimes it is hard. We have a good group of guys, a team that competes, this was a night we were late on plays and we were a little tentative, and teams like that are going to make you pay." -- Devils forward Taylor Hall


Need to know

Marleau needs four goals to tie Michel Goulet (548) for 29th, and five to tie Ron Francis for 28th. ... Hall returned to the lineup after missing two games with lower-body soreness. He had an assist and one shot on goal playing 17:19. ... The Maple Leafs were 0-for-3 on the power play and are 1-for-25 in their past seven games. Toronto entered the game with a penalty-killing percentage of 78.2 percent and went 3-for-3. ... The Devils won six of the prior seven games against the Maple Leafs at Prudential Center.


What's next

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

Devils: At the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, MSG, NHL.TV)

Video: Marleau ties Maurice Richard in Maple Leafs' 7-2 win

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