NHL Game Summary - Toronto at Columbus
(Thursday, December 3rd)
Final Score: Toronto 6, Columbus 3
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Jason Blake and Phil Kessel each scored twice, as the Toronto Maple Leafs dominated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 6-3, at Nationwide Arena.
Lee Stempniak and Nikolai Kulemin also scored for the Maple Leafs, who have won two in a row and four of their past five games. Niklas Hagman, Alexei Ponikarovsky, and Mikhail Grabovski had two assists apiece for Toronto, which got 33 saves from Joey MacDonald.
"I thought we were as sloppy as we could possibly be defensively. Thank God Joey MacDonald made a couple of huge saves or he was big enough that they missed the net. They had some two-on-one's," said Toronto head coach Ron Wilson. "Our power play wasn't very good at all tonight. In fact, I think they had more scoring chances killing penalties than we had on our power play. We still won. We are feeling a lot better about ourselves right now. It was nice to see Joey continue to play well like he did the other night."
Kristian Huselius, Jason Chimera, and Jan Hejda lit the lamp for the Blue Jackets, who have dropped two straight and seven of eight overall. Steve Mason was pulled midway through the contest after allowing four goals on 14 shots. Mathieu Garon took over in net and turned aside 9-of-11 shots.
"I have to take responsibility for the way we played today. We knew how dynamic Toronto was offensively and we knew they could do damage off the rush. We were guilty of turning the puck over in the offensive zone and it lead to all the odd man breaks and chances," said Blue Jackets head coach Ken Hitchcock.
The Maple Leafs drew first blood on Kessel's goal at the 4:32 mark of the first period. Ponikarovsky's pass from behind the net deflected off the skate of a Columbus player in front and landed on the stick of Kessel, whose wrister got past Mason.
Stempniak capitalized off a turnover to put Toronto ahead 2-0 with 8:50 left. Stempniak intercepted a pass in front of the Blue Jackets net before backhanding a shot under the pads of Mason.
Columbus scored a power-play goal at the 4:48 mark of the second to cut the deficit to 2-1. Rick Nash controlled the puck at the right circle before sliding a pass in front to Huselius, who found the back of the net with a wrister.
Blake lit the lamp just 1:17 later to put the Maple Leafs back up by two. Kessel then scored at the 10:55 mark to make it a three-goal game, chasing Mason from the net in the process.
The rout was on when Garon let in the first shot he faced. Kulemin's short- handed score with 7:18 remaining made it 5-1.
Blake made it a five-goal game at the 2:04 mark of the third. Chimera scored at the 3:13 mark and Hejda's first goal of the year with 2:40 left accounted for the final margin.
Toronto goaltender Jonas Gustavsson is out indefinitely with an irregular heartbeat. Gustavsson, who left Tuesday's game after one period with an elevated heart rate, will undergo his second heart procedure in less than three months on Friday...Toronto and the Blue Jackets met once in 2008-09 and Columbus recorded a 4-3 shootout win in Ontario to end a three-game losing streak against the Leafs...Toronto concludes a three-game road trip Saturday in Boston...Columbus welcomes Colorado to town on Saturday.
12/03 22:21:55 ET