A little luck propels Toronto Maple Leafs to 3-2 win over Calgary Flames
Toronto Maple Leafs' Mitchell Marner, left to right, Auston Matthews, and Jimmy Vesey celebrate a goal during first period NHL hockey action against the Calgary Flames in Calgary, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, January 24, 2021 7:02PM EST
CALGARY - The Toronto Maple Leafs enjoyed puck luck scoring three goals off deflections in a 3-2 win Sunday over the host Calgary Flames.
Wayne Simmonds scored his first goal as a Maple Leaf, Jake Muzzin earned his first of the season and Auston Matthews also scored for Toronto (5-2-0) in an afternoon matinee.
Toronto defenceman Morgan Reilly assisted on three goals, Mitch Marner had two assists and Jack Campbell turned away 31 of 33 shots for his second win in as many starts this season.
The Maple Leafs played their seventh game in 12 days after travelling Saturday to Calgary.
Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm countered for the Flames (2-1-1), who were coming off a five-day break without a game.
Jacob Markstrom turned away 29 of 32 shots in the loss.
Two Toronto goals caromed off Flames bodies and another off a Leaf skate.
“It was a pretty ugly game to be honest for us,” Matthews said. “I think there was a lot of things we could have done better.
“Obviously a couple of solid, lucky bounces that went our way.”
Matthews returned to the lineup after sitting out Friday's 4-2 win over the visiting Edmonton Oilers with a hand injury.
“I'll obviously have to take care of it in the next couple of weeks, but it feels a lot better and feels more than good enough to play and good enough to go out there and contribute,” Matthews said.
Down 3-2, Calgary pulled Markstrom for an extra attacker with 1:49 remaining. The Flames also called a timeout with 37 seconds to play, but couldn't produce the equalizer.
“That's hockey. Bounces go each way throughout a game,” Monahan said. “We've got to clean up a few areas and I think we've got to be around their net a little bit more to get those bounces.”
Campbell appeared to be in some pain in the final minute after Calgary's Matthew Tkachuk landed on him in a goal-mouth scrum.
“I was just really focused on trying to get out of this place with two points,” Toronto's goalie said.
Both teams scored one power-play goal on four chances.
With Tkachuk providing a screen, Lindholm's wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle beat Campbell short side for a power-play goal at 6:33 of the third period.
Matthews was in the slot waiting for a play to develop when the puck deflected off him and Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson for the eventual game winner at 2:42.
Simmonds, who signed with Toronto as a free agent in October, earned his 500th career NHL point and gave the Leafs a 2-1 lead late in the second period.
Simmonds was parked in front of Markstrom when what appeared to be his between-the-legs backhand pass deflected off the inside of his right skate for a power-play goal 32 seconds before the second-period buzzer.
Calgary drew even at 1-1 when Monahan on Campbell's right had time to bank his own rebound off the goaltender's back and into the net at 12:53.
Muzzin's long snapshot from just inside the blue-line deflected off Flames forward Dominik Simon and by Markstrom's glove at 7:16 of the first period.
“We had some unlucky bounces, but I think we're playing good,” Markstrom said.
“If you keep working hard in practice, and keep working hard in games and doing the right things, hopefully these bounces are going to stop. Just got to work a little bit harder and create your own luck.”
Marner circling down low fed the puck up to Muzzin to collect his 300th career NHL point in his 307th game with the assist.
Toronto defenceman T.J. Brodie, who was a Flame for a decade before signing with Toronto in the off-season, faced his former club for the first time Sunday.
After a gentle schedule to open their season, the Flames will play at least every second day for two weeks, including back-to-back road games in Winnipeg next week against the Jets.
The Maple Leafs remain in Calgary for Tuesday's rematch before heading to Edmonton on a four-game road trip.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021.