Saturday, August 1, 2015

Leafs stay hot on home ice

TORONTO—Randy Carlyle called Nazem Kadri’s performance last night the best he’s seen in a long time.
Kadri had three assists in extending his point streak to four games as the Toronto Maple Leafs doubled the Florida Panthers 6-3.

Nikolai Kulemin one-timed a Kadri feed at the four-minute mark of the third period for the game-winner.
The assist was Kadri’s 100th career NHL point.
“It’s a great achievement for myself but hopefully there’s a lot more to come,” said Kadri, who has two goals and five assists on his current point steak.
“You got to think to yourself when the points are coming easy, it’s just not all about that,” he stressed.
“You got to make sure you’re good in your ‘D’ zone, bearing down on face-offs, and just allow the coaching staff to put you on the ice in those crucial situations.”
With the Leafs trailing 2-0 in the first, Kadri set up Cody Franson at 16:49 to get Toronto’s comeback rolling.
Then with the Leafs leading 4-2 in the third, the 23-year-old London, Ont. native set up Joffrey Lupul at 6:22—on a power play—for the insurance marker.
“‘Nazy’ was a difference-maker tonight,” said Carlyle. “That’s probably the best game he’s played in a long time.”
Toronto (29-21-6) also got goals from Mason Raymond, James van Riemsdyk, and Tyler Bozak as they extended their win streak on home ice to five games.
Florida (21-26-7) got first-period goals from Nick Bjugstad and Sean Bergenheim.
Dmitry Kulikov had the other Panthers’ goal.
“When a team comes out after they’ve lost the period, they’re probably getting some bad words from the coach,” noted Kulikov.
“We knew they were going to come out strong in the second period and we didn’t handle it.”
Scott Clemmensen made 26 saves for his fifth loss of the season.
Jonathan Bernier made 35 saves in the win.
Toronto won five in a row on home ice from Oct. 22-Nov. 19. The Leafs have just two regulation losses in their past 11 games.
Florida scored twice on their first seven shots to open a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Bjugstad opened the scoring just 1:39 into the first—beating Bernier with a backhand blocker side for his 12th goal of the season.
Bergenheim then finished off a 2-on-1 feed from Brad Boyes at 13:50 to give the Panthers a two-goal lead.
The assist was the 250th of Boyes’ career.
“We were kind of stunned,” admitted Carlyle. “The first shot on goal was in our net.
“It set us back a little bit and we weren’t really moving our feet,” he noted.
“We seemed to find a way to get it going.”
It was all Toronto after that as the Leafs scored five unanswered goals.
In related news, the Leafs today traded defenceman Mark Fraser to the Edmonton Oilers for forwards Cameron Abney and the rights to restricted free-agent Teemu Hartikainen.
Fraser, 27, appeared in 19 games for Toronto this season and hasn’t dressed for the past 11 contests.
He played in 45 games last season, registering eight assists and 85 penalty minutes.
Abney, 22, was Edmonton’s third-round selection (No. 82 overall) in the 2009 NHL draft.
The 6’5”, 219-pound native of Aldergrove, B.C. currently is with the Bakersfield Condors of the East Coast Hockey League.
Elsewhere in the NHL, Montreal beat Boston 4-1, Calgary downed San Jose 4-1, Ottawa upended Tampa Bay 5-3, and Colorado topped Minnesota 5-4.
Columbus beat Washington 5-2, New Jersey edged Dallas 3-2 (OT), Buffalo nipped Phoenix 3-2, Anaheim downed Philadelphia 5-3, and Pittsburgh dumped L.A. 4-1.

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