June 12th, 2024

Nylander scores in OT, Leafs down Wild 2-1

By Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press on February 24, 2023.

Minnesota Wild's Mason Shaw (15) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews (34) battle along the boards during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Friday, February 24, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO – William Nylander scored at 1:05 of overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Friday night.

David Kampf had the other goal for Toronto (36-15-8). Ilya Samsonov made 24 saves. Nylander added an assist to give him 70 points on the campaign.

Brandon Duhaime replied for Minnesota (32-21-6). Filip Gustavsson made 22 stops as the Wild saw their four-game winning streak snapped after beating Columbus 2-0 on Thursday.

The Leafs, who are set to head out on a five-game road trip that includes their annual swing through Western Canada, won’t play again at Scotiabank Arena again until March 11.

Nylander stripped Frederick Gaudreau off the puck in the extra period in the Minnesota zone before beating Gustavsson for his 33rd goal of the season.

The third organization involved in last week’s three-team trade that saw the Leafs acquire forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from St. Louis, the Wild opened the scoring in the first period on a strange sequence that saw Duhaime’s centring pass go in off Toronto’s Calle Jarnkrok and sneak by Samsonov for his seventh.

The Leafs responded before the period was over when Kampf scored his sixth from in tight off a Nylander setup from behind the net.

Playing their first game against an opponent in a post-season spot at the start of play since Feb. 1 against Boston, the Leafs got a power play in the second, but were unable to find a way past Gustavsson, whose only other appearance against Toronto came in May 2021 in a 4-3 overtime victory when he was with Ottawa.

The Leafs’ fifth-ranked man advantage got another opportunity with under eight minutes left in the third, but the Minnesota goaltender was equal to a Nylander one-timer.

The Wild then got their first power play with less than four minutes remaining in regulation only to have Samsonov and Toronto’s penalty killers hold firm to force OT.

MURRAY POISED TO RETURN

Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said before the game goaltender Matt Murray (ankle) is expected to join the team at practice Saturday. The 28-year-old with a long injury history hasn’t played since getting pulled Jan. 17 after allowing four goals on eight shots in a 5-4 overtime victory against Florida.

CRAZY EYES

O’Reilly didn’t grow up a Leafs fan, but he certainly enjoyed the exploits of gritty, pot-stirring former Toronto forward Darcy Tucker.

“Always loved watching him,” said the native of Clinton, Ont. “I remember the ‘Crazy Tucks Eyes’ he’d have when you’d turn on the TV.”

The pair wound up living together years later in O’Reilly’s first NHL season – and Tucker’s last – in 2009-10 with Colorado.

They’ve also stayed in touch.

“Said I absolutely love it here,” O’Reilly relayed of the text message Tucker sent him following the trade. “Haven’t had the chance to get together with him, but we will soon.”

COOKIE MONSTER

Acciari shared the story this week about how he got the “Cookie” nickname from Keith Yandle when both were in Florida.

“There were no cookies at pre-game meal,” said the Johnston, R.I., product. “I didn’t throw a fit, but was a little upset.

“Keith helped me get that in the pre-game meals.”

So what’s the cookie situation in Toronto?

“Very good,” Acciari said with a smile. “Very happy with them.”

UP NEXT

Leafs: Visit Seattle on Sunday.

Wild: Host Columbus on Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2023.

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Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter.

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