TORONTO (AP) — Tyler Bozak scored the shootout winner and the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the New York Islanders 4-3 on Thursday night.
Auston Matthews tipped in Jake Gardiner’s shot to tie it 3-all with 3:29 remaining in the third period, but later left the game favoring his right side after taking a hit from Cal Clutterbuck and did not return. The 20-year-old Toronto star missed six games in December with a concussion and another four games with an undisclosed upper-body injury.
Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly had the other Maple Leafs goals, and Frederik Andersen made 32 saves. Toronto (38-20-5) has won eight straight at home.
Ryan Pulock, Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle scored for the Islanders (29-26-7), and Jaroslav Halak turned aside 28 shots. New York, one point out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, dropped to 4-6-2 since the All-Star break and 13-15-3 on the road this season.
With his three points, Barzal has a team-leading 65 and a 14-point lead over Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s rookie scoring race.
Pulock opened the scoring at 8:39 of the first period, one-timing Thomas Hickey’s feed past Andersen, who appeared out of position on the play after Eberle bumped into him. Barzal picked up the secondary assist.
The Islanders’ rookie then doubled New York’s lead, backhanding the rebound of Anthony Beauvillier’s shot past Andersen for his 13th goal at 11:48.
Marner got the Maple Leafs on the board at 17:39. After picking up a feed from Nazem Kadri, he showed patience while waiting for Halak to make the first move and then beat the goaltender between the pads for his 15th of the season. The goal gave Marner 10 in his last 16 games.
Moments after the Islanders hit the post twice, Rielly tied it at 2 after taking Connor Brown’s pass and beating Halak high on the glove side for his sixth of the season at 1:28 of the third.
New York responded 99 seconds later as Eberle’s centering pass redirected off Nikita Zaitsev’s skate and past Andersen. Barzal got the primary assist on Eberle’s 21st of the season.
NOTES: Kadri’s first-period assist was the 300th point of his NHL career. He became the 35th player in Maple Leafs history to reach 300 points with the club.
Islanders: At the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
Maple Leafs: Conclude their three-game homestand against Boston on Saturday.
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