|TOR||3||0||1||(0 - 0)||4|
|NSH||0||1||2||(0 - 0)||3|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Phil Kessel scored the tiebreaking goal with 5:48 left to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators on Monday night.
Alexei Ponikarovsky had a goal and assist, and Niklas Hagman and Matt Stajan also scored for the Maple Leafs, who squandered a 3-0 lead they built in the first period.
Hagman gave Toronto a 1-0 lead 2:02 into the game when he put a shot between the pads of goalie Pekka Rinne.
Ponikarovsky doubled the Maple Leafs' advantage a little more than 3 minutes later. He skated in front and scored with a backhander that bounced off Rinne before going into the net.
Stajan made it 3-0 at 9:00 when he skated low in the slot and put a backhanded shot past Rinne, who was then replaced. Rinne allowed three goals on eight shots before Dan Ellis took over for the rest of the game.
Goc started Nashville's comeback with 2:22 left in the second period. Skating near the crease, Goc got control of the puck after it deflected off the stick of teammate J.P. Dumont and beat goalie Jonas Gustavsson with a backhander.
Rookie defenseman Franson brought the Predators within 3-2 at 4:21 of the third. Franson fired in a one-timer from above the right circle.
Less than 2 minutes later, Jones tied it when he tipped in the puck after a shot from Nick Spaling from a few feet inside the blue line deflected off a stick in front.
NOTES: Nashville C Jason Arnott returned after missing four games (upper body injury) and RW Jerred Smithson (broken hand) was back in for the first time since Dec. 22. ... The Maple Leafs played in Nashville for only the third time. ... Kessel has three winning goals this season.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On Pekka Rinne’s struggles tonight…
The first one he’d want to have back – we turned the puck over. On the second one we turned the puck over and the player drove the net. He made the save, but the puck rebounded – it was just a lucky goal. We didn’t give him a lot of help. We had to hope we could get it turned around.
On Dan Ellis’ play in relief…
I thought Ellis was the Star of the Game. Once we made the change, Ellis made two or three big saves. Toronto could have run away with it.
On Nashville’s recent struggles at the Sommet Center…
Our fans have supported us. Traditionally we’ve been a pretty strong home team, especially in the last 4-5 years. We’ve got to find that again.
On playing against Toronto…
There are a lot of guys from Ontario on the team, and we thought they would have pretty good jump. I thought our emotions and our demeanor today were just fine. We just didn’t get it done on the ice.
We wish we could be sitting here saying that at least we’d gotten a point, or maybe gotten two.
On the play of Jason Arnott and Jerred Smithson returning from injury…
You can tell there’s a little bit of rust there – just having this game to play at a high level for that number of minutes
Forward Jason Arnott
On falling behind 3-0 in the first period…
We just gave up. We had a lot of turnovers that we let them capitalize on. Before we knew it, it was 3-0 and we were hiding behind the goal. It took us a couple of periods to get going, but we battled back.
On losing on home ice…
We’ve got to learn from this; we know we are losing at home and we’ve got to change it quick. We played well on the road and then we come home and it takes us two periods to get going and by that time, we are too far behind. We are going to have to clean it up somehow, some way, and get it going at home.
On what Nashville did to tie the game at 3-3 during the third period…
We got back to it the way that we normally play. We were forechecking really hard, first-man, second-man, being on the “d,” getting on the puck. We weren’t doing that during the first, we were just kind of sitting back and allowing too many turnovers.
Goaltender Dan Ellis
On making a great glove save during the second period…
It was one of the better saves that I’ve made this year, but I just noticed that they were trying to get that back-door guy; they had a chance earlier in the game with Kessel. They missed the first chance and the second one came right to me and I had it in my glove.
On coming in halfway during the first period…
Well, the game was still pretty early and you start to get a feel for the way the game is going and you start to mentally prepare yourself. Anytime there is an early goal, you start to get ready to play, like you would if you were just starting the game. No real jitters getting in there, it was just really nice to get a good save. That always helps.
Forward Ryan Jones
On having another tough home game loss…
It’s hard to have an explanation, but you come back from long road trips and you are on the plane for awhile, so you try to rest and get everything going. We’ve got guys in here that are sick and banged-up but there are no excuses. We just have to be ready to go all of the time.
On what the team did to get back in the game and tie the score during the third…
We just had to get back to our game. We had to get the puck low, grind it out; I think when we try to get away from our game a little bit and make small plays in the neutral zone, we get ourselves in trouble. For us it is all about getting the pucks deep, putting pressure on their defense, creating turnovers, and getting to the front of the net.
|Niklas Hagman (17) ASST: Alexei Ponikarovsky (15)|
1 - 0 TOR
|Alexei Ponikarovsky (16) ASST: NONE|
2 - 0 TOR
|Matt Stajan (14) ASST: Tomas Kaberle (36), Luke Schenn (7)|
3 - 0 TOR
|Marcel Goc (10) ASST: J-P Dumont (23), Cody Franson (10)|
3 - 1 TOR
|Cody Franson (4) ASST: Steve Sullivan (21)|
3 - 2 TOR
|Ryan Jones (7) ASST: Nick Spaling (2), Ryan Suter (21)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Phil Kessel (15) ASST: Nikolay Kulemin (9), Tyler Bozak (4)|
4 - 3 TOR
|Jay Rosehill Tripping against Francis Bouillon|
|Marcel Goc Hooking against Jason Blake|
|Phil Kessel Too many men/ice - bench|
|Ryan Suter Tripping against Alexei Ponikarovsky|
|Kevin Klein Tripping against Jason Blake|