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game recap

Nylander, Maple Leafs top Flames

Rookie forward scores winning goal, has two assists for first three-point game

by Mike Brophy / Correspondent

Nylander's snipe finds the net

CGY@TOR: Nylander scores go-ahead goal in the 3rd

3/21/16: William Nylander fires a one-timer past Jonas Hiller to give the Maple Leafs the lead in the opening minute of the 3rd

  • 00:49 •

TORONTO -- Make that back-to-back games as First Star for William Nylander.

The rookie center scored the game-winning goal and had two assists in the Toronto Maple Leafs' 5-2 win against the Calgary Flames at Air Canada Centre on Monday.

"I think our line played really well," Nyalnder said. "(Zach) Hyman was strong on the forecheck chasing down pucks and was strong in front of the net. PA (Parenteau) also made some great plays as well."

Nyalnder, who had a goal and an assist in Toronto's 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, scored the game-winner 29 seconds into the third period when he one-timed Jake Gardiner's feed past Calgary goaltender Jonas Hiller from 40 feet out.

"It was thanks to Hyman in front of the net," Nylander said. "I didn't really think the goalie saw anything on the shot. A lot of thanks to Hyman."

Video: CGY@TOR: Hyman tips home go-ahead goal in 2nd

Toronto (26-35-11) is 3-1-0 on its six-game homestand and 5-1-1 in its past seven overall. Calgary (31-36-6) is 3-1-1 in its past five games.

Nylander said getting five points in two games is a confidence-builder.

"I mean, it helps," said Nylander, who has four goals and six points in 12 games since being recalled from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League on Feb. 29. "The more games you play, the more confidence you get. We'll have to see how things continue. I won't say I'll continue to put up this amount of points. You just want to work hard every day and continue to get better."

Toronto coach Mike Babcock has been impressed with the work Nylander has put in to become more of a complete player. He views Nylander as a work in progress.

"I thought their line was good and I thought he was good defensively tonight," Babcock said. "He backchecked hard, turned some pucks over and was good in D-zone faceoffs. Those things are what matters to me more than the other stuff."

Video: CGY@TOR: Parenteau puts Maple Leafs on the board

Babcock said Nylander has been a willing participant in terms of following instruction.

"He's a smart guy," Babcock said. "He knows what you're going to talk to him about before you talk to him. He wants to be great … he understands."

The Maple Leafs opened the scoring at 11:27 of the first period following a mistake by Hiller, who, in an attempt to sweep the puck behind his net, passed it directly to Nylander. The 19-year-old spotted Parenteau alone in front and made a perfect pass that Parenteau converted for his 18th goal.

Calgary had a great opportunity to tie it at 15:26 when Sean Monahan was sent in alone cutting in off the left-wing boards and snapped a shot that Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier snagged with his glove.

Video: CGY@TOR: Bernier and Marincin team up to deny Flames

The Flames had a couple of quality scoring chances early in the second period, but Bernier continued to stymie them. Joe Colborne broke in alone and tried to deke to his backhand, but Bernier read the move perfectly. Then, with Calgary on a 5-on-3 advantage, Johnny Gaudreau slid the puck from one side of the net to Colborne on the other side, but Bernier got across in time to make the save.

The Flames finally solved Bernier at 10:25 of the second when former Maple Leafs forward Matt Stajan took a sharp-angled shot from the left wing that beat the Toronto goalie high to the short side for a shorthanded goal. It was Stajan's second shorthanded goal of the season and Calgary's sixth in the past six games.

The Maple Leafs restored their lead 4:01 later when, after winning a faceoff in the Flames zone, Gardiner sent the puck into the slot to Nylander, who took a quick wrist shot that Hyman tipped past Hiller for his fourth goal in 12 games.

Video: CGY@TOR: Leivo's goal secures Maple Leafs' victory

The Flames tied it for the second time at 17:32 when defenseman Mark Giordano took a wrist shot from just inside the left point that banked in off Colborne. It was the 16th goal of the season for the former Maple Leafs forward.

After Nylander's game-winner, Colin Greening and Josh Leivo scored into the empty net.

Calgary coach Bob Hartley said the Flames paid the price for a slow start, but he added the fact the score was tied 2-2 entering the third period suggests they had a legitimate chance to win. Calgary was coming off a 4-1 victory against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.

"I felt that we didn't have the same intensity and jump as we had last night," Hartley said. "We knew it would be a fast-paced game, and they got timely goals. At the end, they were better than us. It was one of those games where, as a team, we were not at our best."

Video: Maple Leaves defeat Flames by three goals

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