April 24th, 2024

Golden Knights down Maple Leafs 6-2 to snap Toronto’s seven-game win streak

By Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press on February 27, 2024.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill saves a shot from Toronto Maple Leafs' Mitchell Marner during second period NHL hockey action in Toronto, on Tuesday, February 27, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO – William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault had a goal and an assist each as the Vegas Golden Knights downed the Maple Leafs 6-2 on Tuesday to snap Toronto’s seven-game win streak.

Ivan Barbashev and Mason Morelli scored just over three minutes apart in the second period to build a 2-0 lead for Vegas (33-19-7), which got 29 saves from Adin Hill. Alex Pietrangelo added an empty-netter and Nicolas Roy added another goal late. Shea Theodore had three assists.

Minus injured captain Mark Stone and centre Jack Eichel, the Knights also ended a three-game slide of their own that included Thursday’s ugly 7-3 home loss to the Leafs.

Tyler Bertuzzi and Ryan Reaves replied for Toronto (33-17-8), which saw its longest winning run since 2003 come to a screeching halt. Ilya Samsonov stopped 26 shots.

Sporting a 1-4-1 record over its last six heading into Scotiabank Arena – including Saturday’s 4-3 shootout defeat in Ottawa – the Knights opened the scoring at 9:11 of the second period.

Barbashev blew the defensive zone and took a stretch pass from former Leafs winger Michael Amadio before beating Samsonov with a nice move to the forehand for his 14th goal of the season.

Morelli, a 28-year-old playing just his fifth NHL game, then tipped a Theodore point shot for his second at 12:20.

Hill stood tall on Toronto’s first power play later in the period, including a chance off the stick of 52-goal man Auston Matthews.

But Bertuzzi, who had a hat trick in Saturday’s 4-3 victory over Colorado to put a bow on a perfect five-game road trip, fooled the netminder at 17:45 through the pads for his 11th.

The defending Stanley Cup champions got that one back with 48.8 seconds remaining in the second when Karlsson took advantage of a turnover by Leafs captain John Tavares before burying his 20th.

Toronto, which scored 38 times during its win streak, tried to push in the third, but fell behind 4-1 when Karlsson hit both posts and Marchessault jumped on the loose puck to give him 31 goals on the campaign at 10:50.

Reaves got a consolation effort – his third – with 5:25 left in regulation.

Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe was sent to the locker room by officials following a disagreement with 2:14 left in regulation before Pietrangelo scored his fourth into the empty net.

Roy scored his 11th with Samsonov back in the net for the 6-2 final.

WOLL NEARS RETURN

Toronto goaltender Joseph Woll is close to a return after suffering a high ankle sprain Dec. 7. The 25-year-old rookie made 36 saves Friday for the Toronto Marlies in a 4-1 victory over the Laval Rocket in American Hockey League action.

FALLING KNIGHTS

Stone is out week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered last Wednesday, while Eichel (knee) skated with his teammates Tuesday for the first time since getting hurt Jan. 11.

LILJEGREN OUT, GIODANO RETURNS

Leafs defenceman Timothy Liljegren sat out with an undisclosed injury. His spot was occupied by veteran Mark Giordano as Toronto dressed six left-shot blueliners. The 40-year-old suited up for the first time since the sudden death of his father, Paul, on Feb. 15.

UP NEXT

The Leafs host Arizona on Thursday. Vegas is at Boston the same night.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2024.

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