Andersen makes 36 saves to lift Leafs over Golden Knights
Frederik Andersen made 36 saves to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Connor Brown, Mitch Marner and Nazem Kadri scored for Toronto (10-5-0). Brown also had an assist. Cody Eakin scored for Vegas (6-8-1), which got 18 stops from Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Knights were by far the better team through two periods and had a couple of opportunities to tie it early in the third down 2-1 only to have Andersen shut the door.
Patrick Marleau nearly made it 3-1 for Toronto moments later off a pass from Kasperi Kapanen on a 2-on-1 rush, but the veteran flubbed his shot wide.
The Knights got forward Max Pacioretty back from an upper-body injury but are still without center Paul Stastny. They lost another forward when Erik Haula went down with an apparent right leg injury five minutes into the third.
Haula, who collided with Marleau along the boards, stayed down for a few minutes as he was attended to by trainers from both teams before being stretchered off.
The Knights’ power play, which came in ranked 28th, got a chance with under nine minutes left in regulation when Jake Gardiner went off for slashing, but it was unable to score.
Fleury made nice stops on Marner and John Tavares before Andersen stopped Rielly Smith’s effort from the goal line with his arm and body with 2:33 left.
Vegas kept its foot on the gas with Fleury on the bench for an extra attacker, but couldn’t get much in the way of pressure before Kadri scored his fourth into an empty net with 34.1 seconds left.
“We didn’t get on the fore-check,” Leafs winger Mitch Marner said. “Freddie Andersen has been unbelievable for us every single game. He’s the reason we stole one tonight.”
Toronto head coach Mike Babcock, whose team registered a season-low 21 shots was not pleased with what he saw on the ice. He said: “We got fooling around with the puck and they showed us how fast they were. We were lucky to get out of the second.
“When you look at this game, it’s kind of like when Pittsburgh (3-0 on Oct. 18) left here with the points or Dallas (2-1 on Thursday) left here with the points. You thought you had done enough to win and you didn’t. Tonight the shoe is on the other foot.”
Despite the lopsided shot clock, Andersen credited his teammates with getting him clear looks at the majority of the attempts on goal. Andersen said: “We’re keeping a little bit more to the outside. That makes my job easier.”
The Leafs had previously gone five straight games at home without scoring in the first two periods, but Brown put an end to that streak at 5:30 of the first.
“It’s nice to come away with two points,” said Brown, who is among the Leafs being counted on to provide secondary scoring with Auston Matthews out with a shoulder injury. “But I think we see some things we want to improve on from tonight.”
UP NEXT for the Maple Leafs is a fixture against New Jersey Devils on Friday night.