NHL : Rangers downed by Maple Leafs

Updated: November 9, 2014
NHL : Rangers downed by Maple Leafs

Leo Komarov snapped a tie with 5:34 left, and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the New York Rangers 5-4 on Saturday night in a game in which both teams struggled with the lead

“It’s still in your head when you got zero goals,” Komarov said.

Confidence and instinct helped Komarov create two goals.

On the penalty kill in the first period, he got in the passing lane to disrupt play and forced the puck up the ice before feeding Peter Holland for a short-handed goal.

The winning goal wasn’t lucky. Defenseman Jake Gardiner waited out the defense before getting the puck to Komarov, who fired it past backup goalie Cam Talbot.

Roman Polak also scored in the third period to lift the Maple Leafs into a 4-4 tie. Phil Kessel and Richard Panik added goals for Toronto, which squandered a 3-1 lead.

Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, Carl Hagelin and Rick Nash scored for New York, and Talbot stopped 26 shots.

After this back-and-forth affair, the Rangers weren’t happy about the open ice they gave to the Maple Leafs.

“I think we caused our own problems,” said center Derek Stepan, who was strong in making his season debut after missing time with a broken leg. “We put ourselves in tough spots managing the puck and the game.”
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault took issue with what he considered a couple of questionable penalty calls, but didn’t absolve his team of blame.
“We made some poor decisions that led to goals,” Vigneault said. “This is the NHL. They’ve got a good team and they can score a lot of goals.

You’d think four goals on the road is enough to win, but it wasn’t enough.”
Just 53 seconds into his season debut, Stepan beat Holland on a faceoff to give the Rangers possession. Zuccarello tipped Kevin Klein’s shot from the point past Bernier to make it 1-0.

The Rangers cut it to 3-2 with 39.9 seconds left in the first when Kreider’s shot went between Bernier’s pads.

At 17:44 of the second, Stephane Robidas and Jake Gardiner combined for a bad-bounce blunder. Robidas’ pass deflected off Gardiner’s skate to Dominic Moore and then pinballed to Hagelin, who finished the golden opportunity for his 100th career point.

Nash took advantage of porous net-front coverage to put the Rangers ahead 4-3 at 4:33 of the third. It was Nash’s 11th goal of the season, tying Anaheim’s Corey Perry for the NHL lead.