Nazem Kadri broke a tie with 3:20 to play and Zach Hyman scored twice in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
Hyman added an empty-net goal in the final minute to seal Toronto’s fourth straight victory and Minnesota’s third loss in a row. The Maple Leafs improved to 19-8-0, moving a point ahead of Tampa Bay and Buffalo for the NHL lead.
Kadri’s goal bounced off Wild defenseman Nick Seeler, who was on the wrong end of two such plays Saturday. Seeler also had a puck deflect off him and into his own goal when Tyler Ennis scored Toronto’s second goal of the night.
Auston Matthews also scored, and Frederick Anderson made 38 saves for the Maple Leafs for his 15th victory of the season.
The win came after news broke that Toronto signed restricted free-agent William Nylander to a six-year extension, ending an impasse with his contract. Saturday was the deadline for a deal to be done.
Matthews scored Toronto’s first goal, his third in two games since returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him 14 games. The goal was his team-high sixth power play goal of the season.
Minnesota forward Jason Zucker got some redemption in the third period to even the game. After missing a wide-open shot for what would have been the equalizing goal, Zucker eventually tied it later in the period.
Zucker scored his eighth goal of the year at the 9:38 mark of the third on a pass from Mikael Granlund to make it 3. Minnesota outshot Toronto in the third period, but couldn’t a go-ahead goal past Andersen.
Eric Staal and Jordan Greenway also scored for Minnesota.
NOTES: Toronto F Mitchell Marner had two assists to bring his season total to 32 — a Toronto record for the most assists through 27 games. … Wild D Ryan Suter has five assists in his last five games after setting up Staal’s first-period tally. … Toronto D Morgan Rielly had his 200th career point with an assist in the first period.
Maple Leafs: At Buffalo on Tuesday night.
Wild: At Vancouver on Tuesday night.
Source: The Associated Press