Leafs offence blows up again in high-scoring win over Rangers
Third-period goals by Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov and Nazem Kadri helped stave off a four-goal New York Rangers comeback and give the Toronto Maple Leafs an 8-5 win in a wild home opener Saturday night.
The Leafs (2-0-0) have now scored 15 goals in two games but have fallen prey to defensive lapses that will discombobulate coach Mike Babcock.
It was an adventure in defending for both teams at times, with Toronto pulling ahead 5-1 in the first period and chasing Henrik Lundqvist before the Rangers scored four unanswered goals to quieten the Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,621.
Tied 5-5 going into the third period, Bozak ended the Leafs' slide at 7:17 by redirecting a fine pass from the corner from Jake Gardiner over Ondrej Pavelec's glove. The Rangers lost a challenge that the play was offside, earning a minor penalty in the process.
Kevin Hayes took a slashing penalty for New York and Komarov made it 7-5 at 9:52, tapping in the rebound after William Nylander roofed a backhand off the crossbar.
The Rangers pulled their goalie with some three minutes remaining only to see Ryan McDonagh take a hooking penalty. Kadri took advantage with a low shot at 18:30.
Toronto also got two goals from Zach Hyman and singles from Dominic Moore, Jake Gardiner and Nikita Zaitsev.
J.T. Miller, Kevin Shattenkirk, Mika Zibanejad, Marc Staal and Mats Zuccarello scored for the Rangers (0-2-0). Zuccarello also had three assists.
Toronto won its season opener 7-2 on Wednesday in Winnipeg and the Leafs ran circles around the Rangers in the early going.
Lundqvist shelled early
Lundqvist must have felt like he was in a shooting gallery following a first period that saw Toronto lead 5-2 after outshooting the Rangers 17-12. The beleaguered Swede was replaced by Pavelec to start the second period.
Toronto also chased starter Steve Mason in Winnipeg.
The pace slowed in the second period before Zibanejad, with his third of the season, made it 5-3 with a power-play goal on a screened shot at 7:43. Staal then scored with a redirect at 12:14 on a delayed penalty and Zuccarello tied it up at on a high deflection at 14:06 that survived a video replay.
The Rangers, who had a 15-11 edge in shots in the second period, could have had more in the period but Frederik Andersen made a huge save and the Leafs got some kind bounces around their goal.