Nylander, Komarov lead Maple Leafs past Blue Jackets 5-2

Nylander, Komarov lead Maple Leafs past Blue Jackets 5-2

COLUMBUS, Ohio — William Nylander and Leo Komarov each had a goal and an assist and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri also scored, and Frederik Andersen had 32 saves as Toronto stayed in the thick of the playoff hunt in the Atlantic Division. Nikita Zaitsev scored an empty-net goal after the Blue Jackets pulled their goalie for a sixth skater near the end.

David Savard and Brandon Saad scored for Columbus, which lost for the first time in the last five games. Backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo stopped 26 shots. The Blue Jackets stayed in third place in the Metropolitan Division, two points behind leader Washington and one behind Pittsburgh. They play the Capitals in Washington on Thursday night.

The Blue Jackets fought back from a 2-0 first-period deficit to tie the game in the second, but were held scoreless in the final period, despite playing with a man advantage for nearly seven minutes because Toronto had failed to put a player in the box to serve a penalty.

Toronto struck first with 8:55 left in the opening period when the Blue Jackets’ Zach Werenski turned the puck over deep in the defensive zone. Nazem Kadr collected it and chipped to Komarov, who beat Korpisalo from the doorstep.

The Maple Leafs took a 2-0 lead less than two minutes later on a power play when 19-year-old rookie Matthews, in the right place at the right time for a rebound, tucked in his team-leading 33rd goal of the season.

Columbus closed it to 2-1 just 43 seconds into the second period. Savard buried a slap shot from the right dot off a sweet pass from Brandon Dubinsky from behind the goal line. The Blue Jackets tied it 6:58 into the period when Saad deflected in a Werenski shot from the left point.

Toronto answered 6:37 left in the period, making 3-2 on a goal by another of its sensational rookies. William Nylander, after being levelled by Savard and recovering, caught up with Tyler Bozak pass, found himself on a breakaway and wristed a shot in off the top bar.

A hard-hitting game was punctuated by Toronto’s Roman Polak, who unloaded a hit that plastered Oliver Bjorkstrand face first hit into the glass, earning the big defenceman a five-minute major penalty. Bjorkstrand crumpled to the ice and looked as if he may have been unconscious briefly before being helped off.

The Leafs failed to send a player to the box to serve the penalty so ended up playing a man down for close to seven minutes. But the Blue Jackets couldn’t capitalize.

Kadri swept in an insurance goal off a rebound with 4:14 left in the game, and Zaitsev had the empty-netter with 2:47 left.

NOTES: Nylander has three goals and six assists in a career-high nine-game point streak. … Columbus C Alexander Wennberg returned the lineup after missing Sunday’s game with a stiff neck. … Columbus signed forwards Markus Hannikainen and Lukas Sedlak, and D Scott Harrington to two-year contract extensions this week. All would have been restricted free agents this summer. … Blue Jackets F Scott Hartnell was a healthy scratch.

UP NEXT:

Toronto: Home against New Jersey on Thursday.

Columbus: At Washington on Thursday to finish the 17th of a league-high 19 back-to-backs.

___

Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchstacy

Mitch Stacy, The Associated Press

Just Posted

UPDATED: Dog found wandering in Langley headed to his Alberta family

The Langley Animal Protection Society and a kind truck driver are helping Frankie get home.

UPDATED: Byelection lawsuit cost Langley City $27,000

Last-place candidate Serena Oh failed to convince the Supreme Court to hear her case.

Michael Jackstien named Langley’s Good Citizen of the Year

The longtime volunteer organized the BC Summer Games and many other local events.

Province’s best young curlers compete in Langley

Langley Curling Centre is hosting the juniors from Dec. 18 to 23.

Langley’s Marley and Cratchit bring spirit of giving to life

Local accountants will act as characters from A Christmas Carol for a fundraiser.

VIDEO: New series takes in-depth look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Black Press takes a hard look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Police appeal for info after girl, 11, hit in New Westminster crosswalk

Child was left with non-life threatening injuries

Horgan says pot smokers may face same outdoor rules as cigarette smokers

B.C. is developing its rules on recreational marijuana

B.C. teacher suspended after explicit images projected to class

Jeffrey Rohin Muthanna had been viewing porn on a school laptop for two years

Man who pledged to give B.C. hockey team millions charged with fraud

Mike Gould has since repaid $8,000 he allegedly owed Cranbrook restaurant, owner says

Strong economy fuels housing sales in B.C.: report

Economist says demand for houses is being supported by a large number of millennials entering the market

Tequila, hammers and knives: what not to bring on an airplane

Vancouver International Airport staff provide tips on travelling during the holidays

More than 20,000 pounds of garbage removed from riverside homeless camps

Two camps taken down last week on the banks of the Fraser and Chilliwack rivers

New fighter-jet competition to have national ‘economic interest’ requirement

Trudeau government wants to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with 88 new fighters by as early as 2025

Most Read