NEW YORK (AP) — Auston Matthews scored the tiebreaking goal with just under four minutes remaining to lift the playoff-bound Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-4 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday night.
Mitch Marner and Nazem Kadri each had a goal and an assist, and Nikita Zaitsev and James van Riemsdyk also scored for Toronto. Frederik Andersen stopped 29 shots to help the Maple Leafs win for the eighth time in 10 games and extend a franchise record with their 47th win.
Toronto, which clinched a postseason berth when Florida lost in overtime at Ottawa on Thursday night, is all but locked into third place in the Atlantic Division.
Anthony Beauvillier had a goal and an assist, and Johnny Boychuk, Brock Nelson and John Tavares also scored for the Islanders, who lost for the 15th time in 18 games (3-11-4). Jordan Eberle had two assists and Christopher Gibson finished with 27 saves.
On the go-ahead goal, Matthews deflected William Nylander’s shot in front off Gibson for his 31st of the season.
Van Riemsdyk gave the Maple Leafs their first lead of the game — at 4-3 — as he put in the rebound of a shot by Ron Hainsey for his 36th at 2:01 of the third.
Tavares tied the score for the fourth time as he got the puck at the right doorstep and beat Anderson for his 34th on a power play at 6:28. Tavares now has 80 points, reaching that number for the first time since he had 86 in 2014-15.
Trailing 2-1 after one period, the Maple Leafs picked up their intensity in the second and tied the score at 7:52 as Zaitsev’s pass deflected off Islanders forward Mathew Barzal’s stick and past Gibson for the defenseman’s fifth.
Nelson put New York back in front on an odd-man rush as he got a pass across the slot from Andrew Ladd and fired it from the right facceoff dot past Andersen for his 19th with 9:15 left in the middle period.
Marner then tied it again as he deflected Jake Gardiner’s shot in front past Gibson for his 22nd with 2:42 to go in the second.
Beauvillier got the Islanders on the scoreboard with just under eight minutes remaining in the first. Eberle got the puck near the left side of the goal, skated to the corner and sent a pass in front to Beauvillier, who put it past Andersen for his 18th. The goal withstood a Maple Leafs challenge for goalie interference.
Toronto tied it with 3:38 left, just 7 seconds after Anders Lee was whistled for slashing, as Kadri tipped the puck out of the air in front off a pass from Mitch Marner for his 31st.
Boychuk put the Islanders back in front on a power play with 1:26 to go in the opening period as he got a pass from Beauvillier near the blue line and sent a one-timer through traffic past Andersen for his sixth.
NOTES: Marner has five goals and 11 assists during his points streak. … Kadri has eight goals and nine points in his last 12 games. … The Maple Leafs swept the three-game season series. They won the first two meetings, both in Toronto — 5-0 on Jan. 31 and 4-3 in a shootout on Feb. 22. … Zaitsev’s goal marked the fourth straight game an Islanders player deflected the puck into his own net. Adam Pelech did it Saturday against the Blackhawks, and Brandon Davidson in each of the last two — against Florida on Monday and at Ottawa on Tuesday. … Lee had an assist on Tavares’ goal, giving him a career-high 22 this season. He also has career highs with 39 goals and 61 points. … Islanders F Josh Bailey sat out with an upper-body injury, remaining tied with Pat Flatley for seventh place on franchise games played list with 712.
Maple Leafs: Host Winnipeg on Saturday night.
Islanders: At New Jersey on Saturday night.
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