Kadri scores win­ner; Toronto beats Wild in Min­ne­sota, 5-3

The Peterborough Examiner - - Sports | Classified - TYLER MA­SON

ST. PAUL, MINN. — The Toronto Maple Leafs keep win­ning, and they’re adding an­other of­fen­sive player to the lineup.

Nazem Kadri broke a tie with 3:20 to play and Zach Hy­man scored twice in Toronto’s 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, a point be­hind Tampa Bay for the Na­tional Hockey League lead.

“I thought we started OK and then I don’t know if we thought it was go­ing to be easy or what­ever,” Toronto coach Mike Bab­cock said.

“We were re­silient and found a way to win.”

Kadri’s goal bounced off Wild de­fence­man 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.

“A cou­ple bad breaks there, and in­op­por­tune times. That’s dis­ap­point­ing,” Seeler said. “Not much you can do there.”

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. “It’s great news. We hope to get him here as soon as pos­si­ble,” Matthews said. “He’s a big part of this team. Hope­fully, he gets us on a run here.”

Toronto’s play­ers found out the news be­fore the game when Bab­cock emerged from his of­fice to tell them Ny­lan­der had signed. For­ward Mitchell Marner said the play­ers in the locker-room im­me­di­ately grabbed their phones upon hear­ing the news.

“We’re all re­ally ex­cited about it,” said Marner, who had two as­sists in the win. “We can’t wait to get him back in Toronto.”

Matthews scored Toronto’s first goal, his third in two games since re­turn­ing from a shoul­der in­jury that side­lined him for 14 games. The goal was his teamhigh sixth power play goal of the season.

Toronto im­proved to 12-3-0 when be­ing out­shot by its op­po­nent. The Maple Leafs were out­shot 41-23 by the Wild on Satur­day and 18-8 in the third pe­riod.

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.

Satur­day was just the third­e­ver vic­tory for the Maple Leafs in 10 games at Xcel En­ergy Cen­ter. Toronto last won in St. Paul back on March 22, 2011.

Eric Staal and Jor­dan Green­way also scored for Min­ne­sota, which lost con­sec­u­tive home games for the first time all season.

“That’s a great game by us,” said Wild goalie De­van Dub­nyk. “When we play a game like that, that’s just not go­ing to hap­pen again.”

HAN­NAH FOS­LIEN THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Min­ne­sota’s Ryan Suter, left, watches as Leafs’ Zach Hy­man takes the puck in the third pe­riod Satur­day, de­posit­ing it in the empty net..

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