Maple Leafs drops consecutive games for the first time since Oct. 29 and Nov. 1
Leafs had beaten their opponents 4-2 on Monday, and the Blue Jackets had not played since then. Meaning this was a tough road match-up against a well-rested squad.
This proved to be the case, as Cam Atkinson scored for the sixth straight game, as the Blue Jackets overcame the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Friday night to remain atop the Metropolitan Division.
“It was a big goal,” Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson said. “You could see Cam was feeling it a little bit tonight coming down there shorthanded.”
Josh Anderson scored two goals and Markus Hannikainen also scored. This helped the Blue Jackets avenge their 4-2 loss at Toronto on Monday. Sergei Bobrovsky had a good evening, saving 32 shots in the process of racking up his eighth win.
Atkinson put Columbus (13-7-2) ahead with a short-handed goal at 16:14 of the second. He retrieved a feed at the blue line from Alexander Wennberg and struck a shot past Andersen from between the circles.
At present Atkinson has eight goals and four assists during his scoring streak. Meaning that Atkinson is only one shy of the franchise record.
Unfortunately this result means Maple Leafs have lost consecutive games for the first time since Oct. 29 and Nov. 1. Before this, Leafs had won four in a row and seven of eight.
Ron Hainsey and Kasperi Kapenen scored for the Leafs (15-8-0), while Frederik Andersen stopped 20 shots.
Blue Jackets got on the board 3:55 into the first period thanks to Anderson. He forced a Boone Jenner rebound past Andersen’s left side.
Blue Jackets doubled their lead as Anderson swatted a bouncing puck past Andersen, scoring his tenth of the season.
“We wanted to come out pretty hard,” Anderson said. “Leafs played pretty good down low. They were working our D a little bit. We needed to find a way to win tonight, and we did.”
However, Maple Leafs rallied hard towards the end. Firstly Hainsey drove a point-shot past Bobrovsky for his third of the season at 16:16 of the first. Kapenen tied the game 2:58 into the second, as he slipped by a Jenner check in the neutral zone and beat Bobrovsky for his 10th of the season.
“This was as good a road game as we have played in a while,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought our guys skated good. We turned the puck over on their first goal, and then on their fourth goal. The bottom line is we played heavy, we played fast. We had lots of good things.
“They scored and we didn’t. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Later, Hannikainen made it 4-2, with his second of the season.
Following the game Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said: “When you look at the series it probably ended the way it should have. They probably should have won in our building, we should have won here. That’s the way it goes.”
Leafs now head back to Toronto to face James van Riemsdyk and the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday evening.