TORONTO - Bobby McMann registered the first hat trick of his NHL career as the short-handed Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-1 on Tuesday.

William Nylander had the other goal for Toronto (27-16-8). Ilya Samsonov made 14 saves.

The NHL's department of player safety announced shortly before the opening faceoff it had suspended Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly five games for his cross-check to the head of Ridly Greig following the Ottawa centre's slapshot empty-net goal in the dying seconds of the Senators' 5-3 victory Saturday.

Already without their minute-munching No. 1 blueliner, the Leafs also hit the Scotiabank Arena ice without star forwards Mitch Marner and John Tavares, who were ruled out just before warm-ups due to illness.

Alexey Toropchenko replied for St. Louis (28-22-2), which entered 7-1-0 over its last eight games, including Sunday's 7-2 demolition of the Montreal Canadiens.

Jordan Binnington stopped 28 shots in defeat.

Toronto - 14-2-1 without Rielly in 2023-24 - opened the scoring at 5:33 of the first period when McMann fought off Blues captain Brayden Schenn along the boards before driving to Binnington's crease and stuffing home his third goal of the season.

Down about US$30 million in salary cap space with Rielly, Marner and Tavares sidelined, the Leafs doubled their lead at 16:25 when Nylander's pass hit the stick of St. Louis rookie defenceman Matthew Kessel and fluttered past a helpless Binnington for the winger's 26th.

The Blues got the game's first power play early in the second, but Toronto winger Noah Gregor had the best chance on a breakaway that the St. Louis goaltender turned aside with his blocker.

The visitors cut the deficit to 2-1 at 5:36 when Toropchenko tipped in his ninth. Kessel picked up the secondary assist for the blueliner's first NHL point in his 19th game.

Without a goal in straight 17 contests entering play, Leafs winger Tyler Bertuzzi hit the post moments later after getting stopped on a first-period break.

Elevated to Toronto's top man-advantage unit with Marner and Tavares sick, Bertuzzi fed Max Domi in tight on the Leafs' first chance, but Binnington was there to make the save.

Bertuzzi then missed the net from the slot on a third-period power play, but McMann scored his second of the evening - and fourth overall to double his career total - at 8:02 when he collected a loose puck and roofed a shot upstairs on a night where the Leafs needed their depth players to step up.

The 27-year-old winger playing his 37th NHL game then completed the hat trick with 1:39 left in regulation when his clearing attempt off the boards in the defensive zone found the Blues' empty net at the other end with a weight that would make any curler smile.


Blues head coach Drew Bannister followed Leafs counterpart Sheldon Keefe behind the bench of the Ontario Hockey League's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds following the latter's hire by the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies in 2015.


Leafs centre David Kampf and defenceman Mark Giordano returned to the lineup after recovering from undisclosed injuries. Kampf missed three games last week, while Giordano sat out Saturday's loss.

Apart from the absences of Marner and Tavares, Keefe announced before the game blueliner Conor Timmins (mononucleosis) is out indefinitely. Toronto goaltender Martin Jones sat out with an undisclosed injury.

Marlies netminder Dennis Hildeby and forward Alex Steeves were both was called up on an emergency basis.


Leafs: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.

Blues: Host the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2024.