TORONTO, ON – The Toronto Maple Leafs scored three goals in a span of 4:30 in the second period and that would be enough to carry them to a 5-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday Night at the Air Canada Centre.
“I was disappointed tonight," said Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson. "I thought we’d have a better start than we did. It was a game where we had some opportunities to finish and didn’t, then they came back down and capitalized on their opportunities.”
Oilers captain Andrew Ference felt that it was a lack of skating on the team's part which did them in on this night.
“Especially in the D-zone, it was unbelievable how much gliding there was," said Ference. "Allowing them to have extra seconds and complete hesitation. We’re moving quicker now than when we were on the ice.”
Ference was asked about the 11-game winless skid the Leafs had going into the game tonight, which was snapped in a big way.
“It doesn’t matter, the streak, no matter how long it is. When you’re going to play an NHL game, you can’t judge a team by what they’ve done over the past couple of weeks whether it’s that they’ve won a bunch of games or lost a bunch of games. You’re playing against good players and you have to do your job to have a chance. We stood around and watched and they took full advantage of it.
“You have to take hard strides, close gaps and take people’s time away. A couple of the goals were a direct result of that. Extra time. Hesitation to close on guys.”
The onslaught started almost eight minutes into the middle frame when Matt Fraser received two minutes for holding, giving the Leafs their third power play of the game to that point.
One minute into the man advantage, the Leafs struck for the game's first goal. Richard Panik one-timed a shot from the top of the left circle after taking a feed off the side boards from Peter Holland. Fasth got a piece of it, but not enough as the puck trickled across the goal line.
Toronto made it 2-0 less than two minutes later. Phil Kessel's shot from the right circle snuck through the five-hole of Viktor Fasth and in.
90 seconds later, Jordan Eberle snuck in behind the Leafs defence and broke in alone on Reimer. Unfortunately, Eberle's shot rang off the post behind the Toronto goaltender.
Moments later, Toronto came back down the ice to strike again, making it 3-0. Morgan Rielly made a great move while pinching in with the puck before roofing it on Fasth for the goal.
“We’ve seen it happen over time," said Nelson of the unfortunate turn of events that turned a potential 2-1 game into a 3-0 affair. "Over the years that we played hockey, these things happen. In those situations, we have to put the brakes on quick and move forward. But once again, tonight we didn’t finish.”
With 3:55 to go in the second, a Phil Kessel slashing minor gave Edmonton its first man advantage of the night but they were unable to convert.
Shots on goal after two periods were 20 for each side
39 seconds into the third, Mike Santorelli wired a shot from the right circle over Fasth's shoulder and under the crossbar to extend Toronto's lead to 4-0.
Then midway through the final frame, Peter Holland deked out Fasth before roofing the puck on a breakaway to make it a 5-0 game.
With 2.3 seconds left in the game, Luke Gazdic banged home a rebound to spoil Reimer's shutout bid.