Muzzin scores his first goal for Toronto Maple Leafs in 6-1 victory
Andreas Johnsson buried two goals as part of a four-point night. Jake Muzzin scored once and added two assists for his first three points with Toronto. The Maple Leafs thumped the free-falling Anaheim Ducks 6-1 on Monday.
William Nylander and John Tavares, with a goal and an, assist each, and Connor Brown also scored for Toronto (32-17-3). Who has won three in a row at Scotiabank Arena. After dropping six of their previous seven home games.
Acquired from Los Angeles for two prospects and Toronto’s first-round pick in June last Monday. Muzzin said the reason for the easy transition to his new team is simple.
“Good team, good coaching, good plan, and it’s easy to follow,” said the defenceman. “They’re very clear in how we’re supposed to play, and that’s how we’re playing.”
Frederik Andersen made 24 saves for the Leafs. Zach Hyman added two assists.
Rickard Rakell replied for Anaheim (21-23-9), which got 30 stops from John Gibson. Before he was pulled in favour of Chad Johnson following Toronto’s fifth goal.
The Ducks, who trailed 6-0 after the first period of Saturday’s embarrassing 9-3 defeat in Winnipeg. Lost a fourth straight game and have just two victories in their last 18 games (2-12-4).
“It’s hard on everybody,” Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle said. “This is not an easy time.”
Toronto has made a habit of playing up or down to the competition this season. Recent examples include victories over contenders Tampa Bay, Washington and Pittsburgh, and losses to non-playoff teams like Colorado, Arizona and Detroit — but that wasn’t the case Monday.
Andersen, who shared the Anaheim crease with Gibson from 2013 to 2016 before the trade that made him the Leafs’ No. 1 goalie. Stopped Nick Ritchie on a breakaway later in the period, prompting the home crowd to belt out chants of “Freddie! Freddie!”
Gibson then robbed Auston Matthews on a Toronto power play. But Johnsson made it 2-0 just 10 seconds after the penalty expired when he backhanded home his 11th at 13:40 off the rebound of Muzzin’s one-time blast through traffic.
The Leafs blue-liner then rocked Corey Perry near the Ducks bench to once again energize the building.
Ritchie took a cross-checking penalty on Muzzin. Who had a number of battles with Anaheim during his time in the Pacific Division, in retaliation moments later.
Muzzin made the Ducks pay on the ensuing power play. Blasting his fifth on another one-timer past Gibson with 2.2 seconds left on the clock to snap a 2-for-33 skid with the man advantage. The cheers for Toronto’s newest player continued as the period ended and the teams jawed at each other before going to the locker-rooms.
Anaheim got on the board at 2:45 of the third when Rakell sniped his ninth past Andersen’s blocker at 2:45, but the Leafs got that one right back 31 seconds later when Brown beat Brandon Montour to the front of the net on a 2-on-2 to rush to chip his fifth past Gibson.
Nylander, who came in with just one goal and six assists since ending his contract impasse in early December, then picked the far corner on Gibson off the rush for his second of the campaign.