Newark, N.J.— Maples Leafs right winger Mitchell Marner had two goals with an assist and goalie Jack Campbell had 31 saves for Toronto, who beat New Jersey 7-1 on Tuesday night for the second time in two nights.
“That was a heartbreaking loss last night. I do think that it carried over into today. Still, no excuses,” interim coach Alain Nasreddine, who was filling in for Lindy Ruff, who was grieving his late father. Nasreddine added: “Today wasn’t pretty.”
Toronto got the party started first at 2:13 into the first period after Jon Gillies fumbled the puck at the side of his net. Pierre Engvall snatched the puck at the back of the net and found Jason Spezza for the goal. It was Spezza’s ninth of the season.
The Maple Leafs scored two more goals later in the first in a span of 26 seconds. Auston Matthews scored his 29th goal at 8:38, and David Kampf scored at 9:04 to make it 3-0 into the first period for his fifth goal of the season. Marner made it 4-0 Toronto with more than four minutes left in the period.
Backup Jon Gillies was in between the pipes for the Devils but got pulled to start the third period, he gave up six goals on 28 shots in that period. Akira Schmid came off the bench and had seven saves.
For the Devils, Jack Hughes scored a breakaway goal, his 12th of the season, 3:31 into the third period. But Marner scored two minutes later.
Going into the All-Star break, NJD have lost six in a row and nine of their last 10 games. The Maple Leafs have won five games in a row.
“Our starts maybe haven’t been as good as we wanted to in the last couple games or so and especially last night,” Matthews said. “I think we just really made a good effort on just starting on time and a big goal from Spezza line there to get us started and then I think we just rolled through from there. (Campbell) came up big when he had to and we played with the puck a lot tonight, and challenging the net and it’s just a test of our resiliency and just making sure that we get the job done for a full 60 minutes.”
“We played a great third period last night and then didn’t play well. Tonight we just didn’t play well from the start . So we’re going to have to take this break to regroup and come back and be ready to play,” Devils defenseman Damon Severson said. “We’ve shown we can play with these top teams when we’re on, but these last five periods we haven’t been on.”
If the Devils want to salvage their season, they have to play better around the pipes. After blowing an early three-goal lead and coming out flat in the third period at Toronto on Monday, NJD carried that 6-4 loss into Tuesday night disaster. NJD are young but they just have to get better goalie play to make a go in the season.
- Tonight was William Nylanders 400th NHL game,
- Mitch Marner has scored at least one goal in his past seven games
- Auston Matthews’ goal was his 50th point, and that makes him the first Maple Leafs to start his career with six 50 point seasons, and he is tied for 5th all time in Maple Leafs with 50 point seasons
- Pierre Engvall is on a seven game point streak
- The Maple Leafs are a very good hockey team.
Maple Leafs: Host Carolina on Monday.
Devils: At Ottawa on Monday.st Carolina on Monday.