TORONTO -- A three-goal third-period outburst propelled the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-2 victory against the New Jersey Devils on Monday at Air Canada Centre.
Nazem Kadri and Clarke MacArthur each had a goal and an assist to pace Toronto (14-9-0).
Clarke MacArthur scored on the power play, shoveling a rebound under Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg at 7:25 of the final period to give the Maple Leafs a 3-2 lead. It was his sixth goal of the season.
Fans had barely finished returning to their seats for the start of the final period when Jay McClement tied the game at 2. McClement had a clear path to the net and made a move to his backhand, chipping the puck between Hedberg’s right pad and blocker after intercepting Patrik Elias’ errant pass in the Devils’ zone. It was McClement’s third goal of the season; he now has four points in his past five games.
After MacArthur put the Leafs ahead, James Reimer made a sensational right pad save on Elias that left the Devils’ all-time leading scorer shaking his head. Elias was set up on the edge of the crease by Travis Zajac, but Reimer denied him by getting his right pad on the shot.
Phil Kessel scored his fifth goal of the season to put the Maple Leafs up 4-2 at 9:52, finishing off a 2-on-1 with James van Riemsdyk.
The Devils’ defenseman evened the game at 5:43, zipping a screen shot from the left faceoff circle, far-side, behind Reimer. Zidlicky got the puck after Carter beating David Steckel cleanly on a draw in the Leafs’ zone.
The pair would connect again on a give and go at 11:18.
Pouncing on a turnover at the Devils’ blue line, Zidlicky skated in to Toronto’s zone and drew Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson before dropping a pass to Carter. He in turn fed the puck back to Zidlicky for the go-ahead goal.
Prior to his second-period outburst, he had only recorded one goal this season. His last multi-goal performance was Jan. 19, 2009 as a member of the Minnesota Wild.
With his team down a goal early in the second, Hedberg made a nice stick save on Kessel, who kept on a 2-on-1 with Tyler Bozak. It was one of only five saves he had to make in the period.
The Maple Leafs opened the scoring at 10:34 of the first period, generating offense by effectively using the cycle. From the boards, MacArthur spotted Kadri at the left faceoff circle. Kadri’s centering attempt for linemate Leo Komoraov caught the inside of the Hedberg’s left pad and trickled over the goal line. Kadri now has nine goals this season and he leads the Maple Leafs in scoring with 23 points.
In his second start since returning from a knee injury, Reimer looked more comfortable between the pipes than he did in his previous start against the New York Islanders. He had to be alert as the Devils tried to generate offense from the point while creating traffic in front of the net.
Reimer finished with 28 saves for his second consecutive win since returning from a knee injury on Thursday.
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